Posts Tagged ‘light sport’

The coolest airplane I’ve ever seen

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

90FK Lightplanes, one of the top small-aircraft manufacturers in Europe, has designed a FK51 70-percent replica of the famous P-51 Mustang using whimsy, a passion for flying, and a sense of humor. It weighs only 1,000 pounds (a limit for ultralights in Europe), has retractable landing gear (can’t do that in the American light sport aircraft world), and three very special details. You can see a video about it with designer Peter Funk of South Africa on bydanjohnson.com.

Detail one: the carbon-fiber airplane has 100,000 simulated rivets and screw heads in its molds, meaning the airplane appears to be made of metal. Detail two: when the pilot starts the aircraft, a sound system is automatically triggered playing a recording of the Merlin engine used by the real Mustang. The speaker is on the lower cowl disguised as a cooling vent. Detail three: puffs of smoke emerge from the fake exhaust stacks to add to the impression that this is almost the real thing.

Its aerobatic as heck, capable of plus 8 Gs and minus 4 Gs. Here are some details from the FK Web site. So when can you buy this $130,000 aircraft? You can’t yet. In July final testing and approval will be done in Europe, with deliveries in late summer. Then FK Lightplanes,¬†headquartered in Poland with a branch in Germany, will go to work making the airplane with fixed gear to comply with the American light sport rules, getting rid of the adjustable prop because it also isn’t allowed on light sport aircraft, and getting ASTM approval so it can be sold as a S-LSA light sport aircraft.

Dan Johnson, head of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and owner of the bydanjohnson Web site, reports on this and other models displayed at Aero, the main airshow in Europe for lightweight aircraft. Check his May 8 story.

Sling LSA joins the market–new video posted

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Now you really have choices. South Africa sent its Sling to America, through a dealer at the Torrance, Calif., airport, and it has passed ASTM standards. It is built like a tank, wide and comfortable, Rotax powered, gets 108 knots, and costs less than the leading light sport aircraft. Most of them top out at $160,000 (well, one hits $400,000), but the Sling starts at $125,000 and tops out with full glass panels and an airframe parachute in the nose for $145,000.The dealer thinks he can speed it up with a new prop he will test soon. I just made a video here. I took it for a flight above the Pacific Ocean off Long Beach and Torrance. Now, about all those choices. Dan Johnson, head of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, says he knows of a dozen more LSAs on the way to market. But as he has pointed out in the past, only 30 or 40 are serious contenders for the market.

Icon shops five states for factory location

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Newspapers in Florida report the locals are excited about competing for the location of a new Icon Aircraft light sport aircraft factory. Most recently, Icon officials were in Tavares, “The Seaplane City,” but city fathers in DeLand are hopeful, too. The company could go into production in Los Angeles as soon as January, and have a decision by spring on a new factory. Reports indicate the company would like to move in by the end of 2013. However, the company says it could be a year sooner than that. Officials in California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas are also hopeful of attracting the Icon factory to their states.

Fly the Flight Design CTLS!

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Take the Flight Design CTLS for a flight above Sebring, Florida. This airplane dances to Latin music, so if you’re at work, turn down the volume control. If not, congratulations and enjoy!

If the video does not start, click here.