Posts Tagged ‘Pipistrel’
Matevž Lenarčič of Slovenia, who just left South Africa on his GreenLight WorldFlight west around the world, had a turbocharger failure near Keetmanshoop, Namibia, and will remain there at least until April 12 while the turbocharger is replaced.
Click picture to enlarge, then click again.
The village is located in the lower third of Namibia, near South Africa. The turbocharger of his Rotax engine failed, due to a gap in the engine’s oil return line. It appears the lack of oil did not damage the engine due to the pilot’s quick reaction. Lenarčič realized he was only two miles from an airport, and intentionally shut the engine down to save it. Given the gliding characteristics of his Pipistrel, he had an easy glide to Keetmanshoop, where there is a tower, a modern terminal building, and a beautiful village nearby. The engine has had 400 hours of extreme heat, cold, dust and altitude, flying to Antarctica and above the top of Mt. Everest (topping out above 29,400 feet).
He is also having difficulty getting permission to cross Libya. He hopes to make it to Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany, an airshow that begins April 18, to celebrate his flight. AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne hopes to interview him there, but it depends on turbocharger replacement and airspace permission from Libya, which has not been granted.
Help is on the way from The Airplane Factory in Johannesburg, South Africa, a light sport manufacturer and service facility that makes the Sling 2 and Sling 4 aircraft. There is also a dealer named The Airplane Factory in California. Like Matevz’s Pipistrel, the Sling has also flown around the world and is also powered by a Rotax. Check out Pipistrel here. This is the second trip around the world for a Pipistrel.
Can’t help but feel sorry for the climber who has risked his life and his personal finances to climb Mt. Everest, and when he gets on top, some guy in a Pipistrel goes by at 29,413 feet.
He is now safely at Seychelles International Airport off the coast of Africa after an 11-hour flight from India. His average ground speed was 136 knots.
He’s circling the world to the west, traveling up and down continents rather than across to study the world’s fresh water supply, photograph key environmental areas, and prepare a photography book. Only Africa left to circle, and he’ll be home.
UPDATE MARCH 24: He is now in India.
UPDATE MARCH 19: The aircraft structural damage is repaired and the journey continues. After a five-plus-hour flight, Matevz Lenarcic is on the West Coast of Australia in Broome.
Pipistrel says world-flight aircraft is of different construction.
This press release was received from Pipistrel in Solvenia on March 12 concerning the structural failure of the World Green Flight Pipistrel in Central Australia:
“Follow up on structural repairs during the World Green Flight 2012:
On March 6th, Matevz Lenarcic, flying his Virus 914 Turbo from Jacobs Well to Ayers Rock, Australia encountered severe turbulence, which resulted in airframe vibrations. Matevz commented it was the worst turbulence he had ever encountered in his life. When the vibration settled, the pilot found that the aircraft was still normally controllable, so he continued the flight. After landing, a crack was discovered in the lower vertical tail area on his aeroplane. Upon closer examination and discussion with Pipistrel engineers, it was decided that it was safer to repair the issue before continuing the around-the-world flight through tropical regions of south-east Asia, difficult conditions of Mount Everest and deserts of Africa.
Pipistrel quickly dispatched a team of two people, a highly skilled composite-technology specialist and an aircraft mechanic to fly from Slovenia to carry out the repair on site at Connellan Airport in central Australia. The team is already with Matevz and together they will also prepare the aircraft for the continuation of the journey through difficult tropical, Himalayan and desert conditions.
The Virus SW 914 Turbo, the aeroplane which Matevz is flying, has a specially modified airframe which is different from the serial-production Virus SW 80/100 aeroplanes. It has a different structure, a completely different fuel system with fuel tanks of 350 litre capacity, avionics with airframe-integrated antennae, turbocharged engine with intercooler and over 100 other modifications and improvements over the standard aeroplane.Matevž will set off on his flight again sometime during the weekend.”
Matevž Lenarčič of Slovenia is writing a book about his journey west around the world–his third photographic book. Included with this news item are some of the pictures he captured above Australia just before the vibrations started. Click to enlarge.
Here is his description of what happened: “Suddenly, terrible vibrations have shaken the aircraft, and first I thought that it will fall apart – autopilot off, throttle back, pitch up, stop the speed and terrifying vibrations. I carefully checked controls and found out that aircraft is still flyable. I made some pictures with my iPhone through the window to find the cause of flutter. Everything looked like it should be. After short flight over the Rock and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National park, I’ve put the aircraft very carefully down to the runway, because I was not sure in what kind of condition it actually is. I checked everything in details and found two minor cracks in tail section, I sent pictures to Pipistrel and then got an answer that it is probably serious. I soon got instructions to remove rear wing, elevator and rudders. This took me the whole next day on the hot apron, strong wind and with very limited tools.”
Photos by Matevž Lenarčič with permission
Cessna Aircraft can hold down the price of the two-place light sport aircraft (LSA) Skycatcher no longer, and says in 2012 it will be $149,900, although many previous options will now become standard equipment. It started out at $110,000 and had drifted up to $115,000. At those prices, it was below cost. So much for the 2004 dream that maybe some of the light sport aircraft could start at $20,000 but rise no higher than $60,000 when tricked out. The lowest-cost LSAs are about $80,000, but have lots of bells and whistles. You’ll see a report in the January issue of AOPA Pilot on the full-featured Aerotrek at $78,000, and Pipistrel, a company gaining fame for its electric aircraft work, says it will develop a low-cost two-place LSA trainer.
When the announcement was first made, the Pipistrel price in euros amounted to $83,000. Now, five days later, the Pipistrel price of 59,000 euros amounts to $74,800. Great price, but the airplane isn’t in production yet. What to do? There’s always the used LSA market to provide lower-cost airplanes, and that is growing with the increase in the LSA fleet. In fact, you can buy the Aerotrek you’ll read about in January–for the right price. I’ve flown it, and it’s a terrific airplane. So do I have the money? Well, not at this time…or times in the past. Future times don’t look all that flush, either. Fun to think about, though.