Soldiers in our country’s service too often sustain combat injuries that cost them the use of their limbs. What if they still want to learn to fly. Able Flight is one resource for such aspiring pilots. Another national project is Wounded Warriors and Renegade Light Sport Aircraft has worked with European LSA manufacturers B.O.T. Aircraft to create a hand controlled airplane for use in training such students. We interview Tommy Counihan about his experience in flying the B.O.T.
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Nine years ago, in 2014, electric aircraft were mostly experiments and the beginning was challenging. Several ill-fated projects attempted to electrically power airplanes that were inappropriate for such a powerplant. Batteries of the day had lousy power-to-weight ratios. Enough juice to lift and fly a two seater, much less a four seater, by an electric motor made for very short duration flights, measured in minutes not hours. An electric Cessna 172 project never succeeded; hardly a wonder.
Similar challenges face more than 350 air taxi start-up businesses. Sure, someday you might zip around big cities using UberAir but I think that remains years in the future. Range anxiety felt in electric cars becomes much more intense in an aircraft.
On the other hand, electric Part 103 aircraft enjoy two enormous advantages: (1) they only need to fly 30 minutes to an hour to deliver all the fun their owners have in mind; and (2) since Part 103 aircraft are the lightest in powered aviation, lifting them by electric power and batteries is far more achievable with today’s technology.
We are awash in bad news from Ukraine. Some is honest reporting of the extremely difficult circumstances for many in the war-racked nation. Yet media does not always grace itself, always finding the worst of the news to report in somber tones.
Amazingly, it’s not all bad. While heads of state send troops into harms way, most of a nation’s citizenry merely attempts to live a normal life amid the chaos of war. Doing business and living your life while bomb warning sirens shriek is something most Americans can’t grasp, thankfully.
Aeroprakt, builder of the very successful A-22 and A-32 series of Special LSA, suffered directly when a missile hit their flying club building (report here, scroll to last video). Their main factory remains in the central city of Kyiv, where it has been for many years. I visited this location back in 2003 so they’ve been stable for more than 20 years.
I write about affordable aviation whenever interesting material is available. This website will eventually (probably by August or September) move to the AffordableAviation.com domain that I purchased many years ago. It’s important to me that pilots can actually afford to own and fly their own aircraft because I am one of you.
I maintain you’ve always been able to find affordable new airplanes but you had to accept something other than a 150 knot four seater.
Part 103 has always been a choice — no medical, N-numbers, or pilot certificate needed — yet not everybody wants that. A great many pilots desire a two seater, even if they nearly always fly it solo. You usually pay more for a two seater, making it less likely to be affordable.
One modestly-priced two seater is available, fortunately.*
A Genuine Bargain?
One flying machine made flying affordable some years ago but it rather quietly slipped from the American market.
Naturally, sharp-eyed ByDanJohnson.com readers already know about Chip’s big idea. See this article; scroll down.
What you didn’t know is that this idea was unique enough to win a patent. That’s uncommon in recreational aviation, though, of course, an idea like this may go far beyond sport flying.
Chip Erwin is one of those restless people who probably lays awake night cooking multiple ideas in his brain at the same time. Many industries have their “Elon Musk” type who moves forward on several fronts despite plenty of people telling him he can’t do what he does every day.
As the mainstream media hyperfocuses on multicopter air taxi ideas consuming vast amounts of money (why media pays attention in the first place), people like Chip have different thoughts about using electric power on aircraft. Depod is one of those concepts.
Depod is not intended for Merlin Lite.
At Aero Friedrichshafen 2023, visitors saw numerous aircraft that could qualify as Mosaic Light-Sport Aircraft or mLSA. In nearly every aisle of the several large halls of Aero, visitors and journalists could see entry after entry apparently made-for-Mosaic. Indeed, so many entries potentially qualify for this coming new segment that I ran out of time to examine all of them.
We are headed into an interesting period of aircraft development and the subject of this article is a perfect example. Welcome to TL Ultralight’s enhanced Sparker.
The model was introduced to the European 600 kilogram (1,320 pound) standard but over the last year it has gone through an extensive evaluation and upgrade to carry a 750 kilogram load (1,653 pounds). It was also revised to accommodate Rotax’s 915iS and 916iS engines.
With greater capacity and with 160 horsepower available, I’d call this a mLSA or Mosaic-ready Light-Sport Aircraft.
From dawn to dusk, we hear how electric propulsion is going to save the Earth. Whatever your belief about the hazards of fossil fuel, electric propulsion is coming. When is another matter.
Air taxi ventures based on multicopter designs are drinking up funds by the tens or hundreds millions of dollars, probably billions by now. I don’t have a shred of doubt that these will lead to genuine changes in transportation… but I would not hold my breath until such services become common. I suspect it will be many years yet.
However, today, electric propulsion for ultralight aircraft works quite well, especially when it serves a purpose. For soaring pilots, power is about getting to altitude where they can explore ridge, thermal, or wave lift. Those who love such flying, like me, seek out the best machine that might deliver that capability. Ultralight Design’s Ego trike can.
Anyone who knows hang glider wings will admire both the construction and substantially higher performance of what’s called a rigid wing — more common hang gliders are called flex wings.
Do you think you can find Latvia on a map? Do you know anything about the country? You’ll know more after reading this article.
I was underinformed about Latvia and had no awareness of its aviation capabilities. Hint: Latvia is east of Sweden, well north among the Eastern European countries. It is reasonably distant from hostilities in eastern Ukraine. One Latvian company’s ability to build a good-looking airplane is seen in nearby images.
I was alerted to visit Belmont by my journalist friend, Marino Boric, who suggested I have a look at Belmont primarily because it carries quite an agreeable price point: €96,000. At today’s exchange rate ($1 = €1.09), that translates to $105,000 before shipping and related transport expenses.
I realize everybody’s budget is different. Nonetheless, after the world has experienced at least 20% inflation over the Covid years (many experts believe inflation has been considerably higher), $105,000 for a airplane that looks like what you see in these images is, I believe, quite a bargain in 2023.
All week at Sun and Fun 2023 my eye kept drifting to a rather distinctive gyroplane. We’ve seen side-by-side before (AutoGyro, Magni, and Rotorvox, the latter being closet to Nisus). I liked those for the same reason as most pilots. Generally, we enjoy sitting next to our cabin mate although some prefer the “dual solo” configuration of fore-and-aft tandem seating.
Since it wasn’t side by side that did it, was it the way the canopy seemed to hinge forward and nearly off? Was it the dual-boom empennage?
No, it was something much simpler.
Several years ago, Cadillac redesigned their line of luxury cars with what I’d call a “faceted” look, that is, body panels composed of straight or flat surfaces with angular lines (something like the “facets” that help a cut diamond catch the light). I had car-geek friends that simply hated Cadillac’s look.
Darkest before dawn? I hear growing concern about FAA’s new Mosaic regulation and what it will or won’t do. An increasing number of comments I hear are variations of these words — “FAA is never going to get this done, and if they do, it will be a crappy rule.”
Why so glum?
Maybe pilots are frustrated because FAA has delayed the release of Mosaic. This also happened almost 20 years ago with the Sport Pilot / Light-Sport Aircraft regulation. SP/LSA was anticipated for more than three years after the first announcement.
However, Mosaic is coming and this time we know more about it than most regulations. Why? Because FAA must involve ASTM committee members along the way. (More on this? See at end.*)
Earlier FAA rule writers did not reveal their work as broadly. Yet FAA is sufficiently pleased with industry consensus standards, ASTM’s work, that they will use it on the next generation of GA aircraft (think: Cessna, Cirrus, etc.).