Continental is one of the most familiar brand names in all of aviation. The company’s engines have powered more airplanes than most pilots could possibly name and their experience over 100 years (80 in aviation) is legendary. Pilots and mechanics around the world know Continental Motors and you can get service at virtually any airport. We speak with Ron Humphreys who gives us the details of the LSA-specific O-200D engine. We even touch on Continental’s diesel engine.
You already know very well Rotax, Jabiru, Continental, and Lycoming plus a couple others including UL Power and Viking. Now, come have a look and listen to Doc Bailey telling us about the D-motor, a flat head engine. D Motor is a direct drive, horizontally opposed, gasoline engine with what Dac’ said is only 35 moving parts. Here’s 95 horsepower weighing only 124 pounds with a high torque, 250 newton meters’ worth. Created by former race car drivers specifically for aircraft, D Motor has many of the features pilots want.
Many Light-Sport Aircraft use autopilots these days because such controllers have dropped rather fantastically in cost from the days when only turbines and larger had such equipment. One reason for this proliferation is due to TruTrak, which made the Digify autopilot. The company is now owned by a 14-year employee, Andrew Barker, and he shows us around the latest in autopilot capability
In our continuing series of Video Pilot Reports (VPRs), we review the latest Rans, designer Randy Schlitter’s S-20 Raven. This is a delicious combination of the sweet-flying S-7 Courier and the S-6. The Courier is tandem and not everybody wants that plus the new model incorporates many new features that Schlitter knows his customers will enjoy. Come on along for a flight in the newest and greatest from the Hays, Kansas kit and SLSA builder. This a most enjoyable flying machine and we hope you like our perspective.
In our first VPR (Video Pilot Report) on a gyroplane, we go aloft with Robert Snyder in the biggest selling brand, AutoGyro, flying their two place tandem Calidus. If you’ve ever thought about gyroplane flying, this video may answer some questions you always wanted to ask. Multiple in-flight cameras give you a good feel of being in the cockpit; Robert and I describe all aspects of flying a gyroplane. Come on along and enjoy. (TRT: 22 minutes)
Adventure Aircraft may be a new name but you may know the man behind it. He’s Brian Carpenter and with his wife and partner Carol has become the primary source for classes leading to attendees becoming LSA Repairman. In whatever spare time that allows, Brian has been working on the aircraft featured in this video. This is a pure-electric-powered motorglider in one and two seat options. As a one-place EMG it can qualify as a Part 103 ultralight vehicle; with two seats it must be Experimental Amateur Built. Watch for more info.
One of the biggest splashes at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 came with the debut of the MVP.aero’s new offering, their MVP that stands for Most Versatile Plane. The mockup was presented to a standing room only crowd of journalists and then placed on display in EAA’s 10 Year Anniversary Celebration of Light-Sport Aircraft. All week long, it drew thick crowds anxious to ssee the many unique features of the coming SLSA model. Here some of the details in this video from founder Darrell Lynds.
We’ve looked at Nando Groppo’s Trail aircraft earlier, both in the USA and over at Aero in Germany. The aircraft remains an interesting modestly priced machine (mid-$80,000s in early 2014, subject to change) with folding wings and bush capability. Now the Trail has a new representative. Steve Bensinger has a long, illustrious history with the CGS Hawk ultralight and now offers the Trail. Get up to date on the airplane and Steve’s business in this video.
Aerotrek supplies a popular and well-priced everything but, you know, having a nice airplane isn’t enough. Why not have a traveling hangar and home to go with your great Light-Sport Aircraft? With the money you save buying Aerotrek (half as much as some high-end LSA), you’ll have money left over for other great toys, like a custom trailer. Your savings might not also cover the motorhome in this video, but watching may motivate you to work harder to acquire such a nice rig. Come have a look.
At the Midwest LSA Expo, we had a chance to speak with one of market leader Flight Design’s midwestern dealer, Tom Baker. We wanted to hear Tom’s comparison of the non-fuel-injected CTLS and the new Rotax iS 912 engine. So, we went flying and asked him for his thoughts … about Flight Design and his history with it as well as the new CTLS and the latest in 912 engine technology. Tom provides a deeper view of this popular LSA that may help pilots in shopping mode.
Kris Siuba has represented the handsome Light-Sport Aircraft Topaz from Ekolot for several years but he wasn’t a solo pilot until just before his 9-hour flight to Sun ‘n Fun 2014. We speak with Kris and have a look around the Topax with its excellent finish work. For those seeking something a bit different or for those looking for an aircraft that shows great stye, this might move your spirit. (If you attend the Midwest LSA Expo at the beginning of every September — an hour east of St. Louis — come find Kris and Topaz).
Garmin is one of the most familiar brand names in Light-Sport Aircraft. Very popular devices include handhelds like the 496 (now aera) or iPad-like 796. For those who prefer permanently panel-mounted, a top choice is now the G3X with touchscreen capability. Garmin is a multibillion-dollar company but they’ve had to work to stay ahead of smaller but nimble competitors. Their G3X Touch is a very strong play to keep in the lead. Garmin’s Jessica Cox walks us through some of the features of this grand new instrument.
Germany’s popular Fk9 from FK lightplanes is one of that country’s most popular models, often flown in flight schools and by hundreds of recreational pilots. Around since the 1990s, the Fk9 has been continuously updated. In fact, this would be the Mark 5 version had not the company renamed it the Fk9 ELA, for European Light Aircaft. In the USA, FK Lightplanes is well represented by Hansen Air Group. Come on along as we look throughout this new version of a well proven light aircraft.
Doesn’t everyone know about the miniature BD-5 airplane including the jet-powered version many have seen at airshows? That was the beginning of a long and productive design career for famous designer, Jim Bede. At Sebring 2014, we spoke with engineer Tim Becker who gave us plenty of information about the Sport Pilot-eligible BD-17, a single seat design that meets all parameters of a LSA. BD-17 is one of the very economical choices to help you get in the air.
When people visit the Midwest LSA Expo, a popular LSA-oriented show in early September, those visitors will likely run into an expert airplane broker, Eric Evans. As you’ll hear in this video, Eric knows his way around a wide variety of airplanes, including many used aircraft. Eric tells us his view of the LSA market as we speak about a beautiful 2009 Jabiru that most viewers would think is brand new. He also tells about his concept to offer LSA training where he goes to the customer’s airport, a terrific idea.
Larry Burke founded the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association back in the early 1980s when ultralight aircraft were zooming around the skies of shows like Sun ‘n Fun. We took a rare opportunity to speak with Larry at the 40th anniversary 2014 edition of Sun ‘n Fun and got his perspective on the industry as he saw it then and views it today. This is an important piece of history in the light aircraft community.
At AirVenture 2014, EAA hosted Zenith Aircraft in a major project in which 2,500 people gave some assistance to a central team that built an entire CH-750 from shipping container to FAA sign-off and test fly during the seven days of the show in Oshkosh. At the end Jeff Skiles (crew member of the famous airliner landing on the Hudson River) test flew the airplane. Here’s a view of the furious effort to get the job done quickly and well.
Jabiru Aircraft has long done well with their line of affordable, speedy, and U.S.-assembled aircraft. Yet following the difficult recession years, owner Peter Krotje thought he could do even better, but lowering the price. How is that possible … especially a $25,000 cut of retail price? See the video for more detail but basically the Australian manufacturer sells a kit to a South African company that is highly effective at building these kits. Afterward, Jabiru USA imports and finishes their work. Despite a lot of freight, you pay less. Buyers will enjoy big savings.
Our video with Levil’s Joe Marszal starts out with something absolutely new at AirVenture 2014. You can see Dan Johnson modeling and using AeroGlass, which might be called “Google Glass for pilots.” The developer had a blow-out event and Levil, makers of GPS and AHRS systems for iPad and Android tablets, partnered up with the AeroGlass folks to power a fascinating heads-up display that can be used in a Light-Sport or homebuilt aircraft. Some great info is contained on this video.
Vertical Power makes some of the useful products about which most of us don’t know enough. We’re all familiar with the common row of circuit breakers or fuses on our instrument panel but that is old fashioned … so last century. Vertical Power has changed hands and the new company, Astronics, has interesting plans for these innovative and modern products. Join us as Chad Jensen explains what is happening today with Vertical Power. You’ll surely learn something.
We’ve seen AMT’s FlyCool light weight, low power draw air conditioning system before in other Light-Sport Aircraft but it had not yet been done in the CTLS. Now US Aviation in Texas has made it happen. They brought the hardware to Sun ‘n Fun and quickly made an installation which we got to experience. Come hear how it was done and how it works. In warm climates the FlyCool system can be a big benefit.
Beringer is a family company that has been deeply involved with wheels and brakes in the automotive and motorcycle world. But in 2006 the family focused on aircraft (they sold the automotive part) and dedicated its energy in this area. At Aero 2013 we spoke with Claire Beringer to ask about the family business. She shows us their impressive line of premium wheels and brakes and tells us how these have been improved even further.
At Oshkosh 2013, we discovered the Panther, a single place aerobatic-capable LSA candidate. Company owner and designer Dan Weseman provides all the details you want to ask in this video. Pilots can expect a 1,500 fpm climb, fast takeoff, and enough strength for loops, rolls, and perhaps more (but check with the company’s recommendations). Sold as a kit but meeting LSA parameters allows use of Sport Pilot certificate and the company will support many aircraft engine to the builder’s desire.
Belite Aircraft rarely sits still. This company,. operated by a man former in the computer industry, knows that constant development of an idea stimulates interest. The latest from James Weibe is the UltraCub and it has two main differences: (1) the main fuselage is of notably different construction and (2) it has a four-stroke engine up front. You can hear the engine and hear more about all the changes to the newest model from Belite on this video.
Aerotrek and their dual models — the A220 taildragger and the A240 trigear — have been an impressive performer in the market share race, steadily moving up our chart. At Sebring 2013, we spoke with U.S. importer Rob Rollison about how these handsome, very well priced Special Light-Sport Aircraft can work in a flight school environment. Having acquired more than 1,500 hours in a training environment, Rob said the Aerotrek still looks and flies great and some European models have more than 4,000 hours. Hear more in this video.
Jim Weibe is the brains behind the Belite aircraft, some of which meet Part 103 parameters. He also does Belite Electronic superlight instruments. This busy fellow is now also offering amphibious floats, for his aircraft but conceivable for any other aircraft up to 620 pounds. The great news here is that you can’t find many other floats for truly light aircraft and Jim has labored to change that situation … though larger floats will follow.
We first looked at the Nando Groppo Trail from Italy at Sebring 2013. At that time, we spoke with the designer Nando Groppo and reviewed the airplane with its easy wing folding mechanism. Just three months later at Sun ‘n Fun 2013, the Trail had won its Special LSA approval and is now available for sale. Speaking with U.S. representative Valter della Nebbia, we heard more about some modest changes to better accommodate the American market.
We don’t have a lot of ultralight helicopter coverage here on ByDanJohnson.com because not many exist. A few have been proposed and prototypes built, but one that’s stood the test of time is the Mosquito. A couple examples flew regularly at Sun ‘n Fun 2013 so we decided to get a static flight lesson on these affordable rotary winged aircraft. Join us on this video and you can learn what we learn as we ask questions of an expert. Plus, get this: Mosquito is available for a bit more than $40,000!
When you want the final word, it’s often best to go right to the top, to the boss. That we did with Kolb Aircraft boss Brian Melborn. In this video shot at the new and improved Paradise City at Sun ‘n Fun 2013, we heard about the Kolb Firefly as a Part 103 ultralight vehicle … but the best news is a factory available ready-to-fly model, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Brian also tells about a few changes to the great flying light aircraft.
All-too regularly I hear people lament the high cost of Light-Sport Aircraft. Indeed, some with all the latest equipment do get up in price, but that does not change the fact that many lower priced aircraft are available. One company, Valley Engineering and their Backyard Flyer series brings several very agreeably priced aircraft to the market. They are kits but in return for some hours of labor you can have a very fun flying machine for a cost nearly anyone can afford. Check out their highest-powered example in this video.
Quicksilver is an iconic brand, having sold more than 15,000 aircraft in its history. Pilots around the world have flown Quicksilvers and many are flying in the USA to include flight schools. In this video we speak with sales director Todd Ellefson about the strutted Quicksilver Sport 2S mated to Puddle Jumper amphibious floats. We speak about the experience of flying the float-equipped 2S model. You can build it in 100 hours, but the company is nearing completion of an fully manufactured SLSA version of this popular aircraft.
Describing the Pipistrel is interesting in three ways: the company name (a story by itself), the LSA industry’s broadest line of composite airplanes; and Pipistrel’s success winning three NASA efficiency contests. The factory in Slovenia is equally impressive. Our video cannot give all the details of this very active company celebrating 25 years in business, but we’ll introduce you to the boss and U.S. importer Michael Coates plus we’ll tell you how to find more.
Get an update on the very handsome F30 from Golden Avio, the very last design from aviation design legend Stelio Frati. To hear the latest we again interviewed Italian compmany representative Luca Ferragatta in the new and improved Paradise City of Sun ‘n Fun 2013. He tells of U.S. distribution, some changes for the American market, plans to gain SLSA approval and more. Come on along and hear more about an airplane that generates strong reviews.
At Aero 2013 in Germany, we ran into American Bill Canino owner of Sportair USA, the U.S. importer for TL Ultralights, maker of the Sting and the Sirius LSA. At Aero, the company offered their new tandem-seating Stream. Bill’s company, Sportair USA, offers a wide range of aircraft and he gives us a view of his line, assembled through 38 trips to Europe. In this video we focus on all the offerings of TL Ultralights.
We all like the idea of owning an airplane, one we call our own and one we are used to flying. The downside is obvious: airplanes can cost a lot and it isn’t fun paying all the costs by yourself. So, how about paying only 1/8th the cost plus have a professional organization handle the business organization of partner ownership? More folks are turning on to this idea and Aviation Access Project leaders explain how it works in this video.
When you think a company has wrung all it could from a design, think again and then once more. First came the CH-701 STOL, which acquired the nickname “Sky Jeep” for its great off-runway capabilities and short take off. Zenith improved that with the CH-750 that featured a wider cockpit among other changes. At Sun ‘n Fun 2013 Zenith unveiled the Cruzer, a non-STOL version of the same airplane now offering faster cruising. We spoke with expert factory pilot Roger Dubbert about the newest variation on this successful theme.