Just Aircraft’s SuperSTOL was a major hit on the Paradise City runway at Sun ‘n Fun 2013. In this video we continue our review of this amazing aircraft as we interview principal designer Troy Woodland. We go fly the aircraft; with cameras on the wing and even the tailwheel, you can verify its unusual performance that allows you to land with the joystick full aft. Watch the video to hear some of its secrets.
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An aircraft that grabbed everyone’s attention at AirVenture 2012 was the new Highlander Superstol from the South Carolina company. Here’s a video you want to watch as we show touchdown after touchdown to show just how that marvelous gear with the 20-inch range (measured at the spindle). In flight footage also shows the automatic slats in operation and our interview of Troy Woodland will tell you how they did it all. You’ll enjoy this one!
An all-American design, the Just Aircraft Highlander is more than “just” an aircraft. Here’s a rugged taildragger that can carry quite a load and can land on unimproved airstrips… or perhaps alongside that trout stream you always wanted to fish. Beyond its utility, Highlander is roomy to let you sleep in it. (Note: Contrary to my memory test on camera, I do have a pilot report on Highlander.)
If you’re familiar with Avid Flyer or Kitfox aircraft, you know at least something about Just Aircraft’s Highlander. Its pedigree “path” is somewhat meandering but leads to an excellent flying machine born of a rich American airplane design heritage.
Dean Wilson was the originator of this now-proven design shape. The first departure from Wilson’s Avid Aircraft company was Dan Denney, who went on to offer the Kitfox. Denney’s prowess as a marketer brought international fame to the Kitfox and, over the years, the sale of nearly 3,000 aircraft. At one time Denney Aerocraft was among the country’s largest suppliers of kit-built aircraft. What had been an ultralight design evolved into a successful 2-seat homebuilt, but that wasn’t the end of the evolution behind Wilson’s original creation. Denney sold his company to Phil Reid, who renamed the Idaho company SkyStar.
A Well-Evolved History
Another break-off from Avid Aircraft and Denney Aerocraft was Flying K Enterprises, which introduced the single-seat Sky Raider.
As Sun ‘n Fun 2022 comes to a close, so does my daily reporting. This happens through long days and short nights. My sleep schedule can soon get back to normal. In an article already underway, I will make some forecasts for what we’ll see at AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 based on what was displayed at Sun ‘n Fun 2022. Watch for that in a couple days after I catch my breath.
Meanwhile I’m expecting to go fly in the TL Sport Aircraft high wing TL-3000 Sirius and perhaps their retractable tandem Stream.
I’m also scheduled to go fly the BOT SC07 Super Cruiser. I hope to have reports on these later in April.
Meanwhile, here’s a final daily report from Sun ‘n Fun 2022…
Savannah by ICP
What is it about orange? Several people told Savannah rep’ Walter della Nebia that it attracted them. I felt similarly. I can’t explain it but the show airplane certainly looked great and drew plenty of visitors.
At Sun ‘n Fun, as with AirVenture Oshkosh, recent years have created a new attraction using the Lightplane airstrip at both the nation’s two largest airshows. STOL — Short Takeoff and Landing — competitions have become a huge crowd draw.
On pleasant evenings, crowds can be five deep all along the runway fence. STOL comps provide exciting close-up action. At few other airports can you observe so closely, literally 100 feet away from runway centerline.
After the main afternoon airshow aerobatic acts conclude, you can do one of two things. You can go to the car park and wait in long lines to get out of the lot or you can make you way to the Ultralight Area / Lightplane Area / or Paradise City and catch the evening STOL comps. When they’re over the car parks are moving better and you won’t waste time sitting in line.
STOL comps were planned every evening of Sun ‘n Fun but 20 mile per hour winds blowing 90° cross to the runway over a nearby line of tress was a bit much for many competitors.
Everyone has returned home from the first major airshow in too long (other than the wonderful sector-specific event called Midwest LSA Expo). Well… everyone went home except a substantial group of volunteers who stick around for days or even weeks afterward to clean up and prepare for next season. Thanks to all volunteers for their efforts that make these events possible!
However, while we celebrate Sun ‘n Fun 2021 having a worthy success, aviation is not out of the woods yet.
Just today, I learned that Aero Friedrichshafen has been cancelled for 2021 — after twice changing the dates in the effort to schedule a time that works for vendors and pilots plus assures safety for those attending.
Aero will next be held in 2022. Main organizer Roland Bosch said, “We have to postpone the Summer Edition of Aero 2021. It’s hard, but it is the best solution [given these] circumstances, I think.” Europe remains much more locked down and restricted than the USA — certainly moreso than Florida, which has been open for many months.
In about one week, it all ends. Before then, DeLand Showcase 2019 is set to begin! As this is the last airshow of the year, it’s also fair to say the season ends when DeLand show concludes. This year is the fourth annual event.
Since the Sebring show bid a final farewell last spring, DeLand will be the last light aircraft show until Arizona’s Copperstate/Buckeye Air Fair in February, followed two months later by Sun ‘n Fun. If you live in the eastern half of the USA, DeLand and Sun ‘n Fun are separated by five months. Yikes! You can learn more about Copperstate/Buckeye in this video with the Vice Mayor.
Next week on November 14-15-16, welcome to sunny, warm Florida.
Come to DeLand
I hope many of you who frequent this website will be heading to DeLand for the event starting next Thursday.
Sustained interest in Cub-types has long amazed many of us. About the only airplane that routinely seems to inspire even more passion may be the North American P-51 Mustang. Since almost none of us can afford our own WWII fighter, Cub-a-likes may be the leading light aircraft type that pilots hope to own.
Indeed, between CubCrafters and American Legend, we have two manufacturers pumping out their version of Piper’s venerable Cub. Nothing wrong with that. Indeed CubCrafters lead the parade with their carbon-accented model (to save weight) powered by the awesome 180-horsepower Titan engine.
Along the way, Just Aircraft invented their SuperSTOL, based not on Cub but on their earlier Highlander. It has drawn many admiring glances and sold a number of kits (Just chose not to pursue SLSA approval for this model though their Highlander did qualify).
Then we have Rans and their also-popular S-21 Outbound, a evolution of the company’s S-7 Courier and S-20 Raven.
Seaplane flying is a specialty within aviation but it is one that has steady appeal and develops passionate aviators. I prefer to modify that “gear-up landing” line to… “There are pilots who love seaplane flying and there are those will love it.” Be forewarned: Once you touch your seaplane* or floatplane* to the water, it may forever change you. If you think I’m being too dramatic, you probably haven’t flown off the water.
Great, so it’s magical to see the countryside from a few hundred feet up. Even better, enjoy flying low across the clear, blue, warm waters of the Bahamas. Examine the shoreline of a big lake in a way you’d never do in a landplane. Compared to airports, seaplane pilots have many times more lakes or rivers able to handle a landing. All are fair game in an emergency and many U.S. waterways will permit normal water operations.
Are you convinced yet?