Most pilots seem to love engines. Well, no surprise as (except for gliders) it is a powerplant that allows us to go aloft and see the world from our unique perspective. In this video we look into the Suzuki engine conversion to an aircraft engine. Speaking with Aeromomentum proprietor Mark Kettering, we learn more about this Japanese auto engine and how you can use it on your kit-built aircraft. Lots of info here and we tell you how you can get even more.
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Think about this. If you land your Timber Tiger Jenny at any GA airport and taxi up to the ramp, you might have trouble getting out of the cockpit for all the admirers that will assemble around you.
Take a close look at this example built by John Youngblut. You are quickly charmed by fond images of an earlier period in aviation. Then you look deeper, noticing its shaped wood struts, leather trim, and classic analog guages. This draws you in further and I watched people get closer and closer as they examined the detail.
All that leaves out how well it flies, which developer Nick Pfannenstiel reported was the #1 appeal of the airplane. So after enjoying an easy, relaxing flight in your Jenny, you land to be swarmed by people who believe they’ve just witnessed a piece of history fly into their lives.
Jenny began life as a Curtiss, was recreated in scaled down form by Early Bird Aircraft (Gen 1) and kits are now manufactured by Timber Tiger Aircraft, which has reimagined again in slightly larger scale, better fitting modern Americans.
Considering the company has always been a western U.S. manufacturer, a name that sounds like “six shooter” conjures a cowboy image, horse-riding westerners packing a pistol on their hip. Actually, it’s just a fun name.
Six Chuter’s aircraft are enjoyable enough and the company careful enough about how it treated its prospects and customers that they managed to sell more than 2,100 aircraft since forming three decades back. Over many years of examining hundreds of companies, I am aware only a very small number of airplane producers that have built more than 2,000 aircraft. Six Chuter is clearly a company prepared to stick around for a while. Here’s a very brief look back at its history.
Six Chuter is one of the longest operating powered parachute companies in business today, founded in 1991 by Dan Bailey in Yakima, Washington. Dan sold the company when he felt it was time, in 2010, to “pass the baton” to prior Six Chuter dealers Doug Maas and Tom Connelly.
ScaleBirds is not your run-of-the-mill kit aircraft company. In truth, all kit builders are amazing to me.
People who labor for years to design an aircraft, craft methods for making the constituent parts, assemble it all, work out bugs in construction, fly the aircraft, then smooth any rough edges of its flight qualities, start producing kit components — and the manual it will take for a non-expert to build the kit (perhaps the hardest task) — and finally, start the effort of telling people about the airplane, market it, sell it — and the big one — try to turn a profit for doing all the preceding. Any way you cut it, birthing a new design is an immense project.
Sam Watrous, his son Scott, and their merry band of (mostly volunteer) ScaleBirders are not merely doing all the above. They are emulating vintage American military designs in reduced scale and trying to get the details right so the kit versions look as much as possible like the originals.
As snow swirls in the air and piles up on the ground in the northern latitudes, perhaps it’s a good time to think of Florida… specifically, DeLand, Florida. Admittedly, the weather in the southern state is presently experiencing a chill as cold air rushes down from the north. It may not even hit 70° today!
You can relax, though. It should warm up to more respectable temperatures as the show starts and continues. So this seems like a great time to attend the DeLand Showcase 2019 that starts tomorrow (November 14th).
With Florida in mind, let’s talk seaplanes. To put a finer point on it, let’s talk highly affordable seaplanes from a company based right at DeLand. You might have guessed I’m talking about Aero Adventure.
Along with Aerolight 103 producer, U-Fly-It, Aero Adventure is one of the light aircraft manufacturers based at the home of the DeLand Showcase.
This year celebrates 15 years of Light-Sport Aircraft and its companion pilot certificate, Sport Pilot. This year also celebrates the 12th year of LAMA providing the LSA Mall. What a fascinating ride it has been!
For 2019, LAMA will again host its special location at the big spring celebration of flight that is Sun ‘n Fun. LAMA is able to mount this attraction thanks to longstanding support from Sun ‘n Fun management and many industry players.
The purpose of the LSA Mall is twofold: (1) present aircraft to visitors in a convenient, enjoyable setting, and (2) showcase the light aircraft industry in one location. The LSA Mall is not limited to Special Light-Sport Aircraft but features Sport Pilot-eligible kit aircraft and ultralights plus specialty light aircraft that may be of interest to pilots.
For 2019, the LSA Mall will add a few previously-owned LSA, as this part of the light aircraft market is developing.
Sun ‘n Fun 2018 ended a great event on Sunday. After traveling home Monday, plans called for a very quick turnaround to jet across the Atlantic for Aero Friedrichshafen 2018, which started Wednesday. For an aviation buff, the month of April is something like being a kid in a candy store.
So many fun airplanes. So few days to absorb the images, stories, people, and excitement.
Sandwiched in the 24 hours between getting home from Sun ‘n Fun and blasting off to Europe, one more cool thing happened: a gathering of LSA or light-kit seaplanes. Seven brands were invited by Spruce Creek Fly-In airport manager Joe Friend but rather ironically, two that are quartered closest to Spruce Creek — American Legend‘s AmphibCub and Brazil’s SeaMax — were unable to make it. The five who did make the effort right after Sun ‘n Fun were rewarded with a beautiful day and good interest.
Today I got a good look at the new Aventura S-17 built in DeLand, Florida — also home of the Aerolite 103 and the DeLand Showcase …plus a large volume of sky diving.
In a word, S-17 is hot! One word is not enough, though. This light kit seaplane is also an unusually good value for a long-proven airframe that Aero Adventure has significantly beefed up.
The business is Aero Adventure, run by Alex Rolinski who bought the well-known design five years ago. He’s a high-energy fellow who quit his bank officer job to go full time and the operation has plenty to keep him busy.
S-17 gets its name from the use of a AeroMomentum Suzuki-based engine outputting 117 horsepower. By using an infusion process rather than hand layup fiberglass, Aero Adventure reports saving substantial weight while maintaining strength. “Yes, it’s more work work to use this method,” said Alex but the time consuming process more than offsets the 30 or so extra pounds of AeroMomentum’s AM 15 compared to a Rotax 912.
Let’s make an important point right up front. Seaplanes cost more than land planes. A fully-built, ASTM-compliant LSA seaplane starts at $150,000 and can go way up from that point. With a boat hull and retractable gear, of course, these water birds cost more to manufacture.
Must seaplanes be so costly? Fortunately, no! Aero Adventure manufactures a surprisingly affordable light seaplane kit.
With the Suzuki-based AeroMomentum engine, you can get an Aventura in the air for less than $50,000 …yep, nose to tail, tip to tip, including a basic panel and powerplant for $49,000. Elect the super-popular Rotax 912 and the cost rises a bit to $55,000, at which level Aventura remains one of the major bargains in light aviation. Learn more about the AeroMomentum engine in this video.
AeroMomentum has a few choices for you, Alex indicated, including their 100 horsepower AM 13 model or the 117 horsepower AM 15.
Aero Adventure offers what is likely the lowest cost boat-hull seaplane in the light aircraft space with a kit that, complete with engine, sells for less than $50,000. Add a long history to its credit and Aventura is a seaplane worthy of a close look.