If you’ve been around aviation long enough you’ve heard the Q&A: “Know how to make a small fortune in aviation? Start with a large one!” Yet aviation can always use fresh talent, so welcome former tech entrepreneur, James Wiebe, turned aviation businessman. From his days building Mac peripherals under the name Newer Technology (and reaching sales of $60 million), Wiebe sold his tech enterprises and, in January 2009, bravely launched Belite Aircraft. The first flight came July 4th. *** Wiebe chose to incorporate stronger, lighter carbon fiber technologies to replace steel, wood, and aluminum. The result is a three-axis, full-cockpit airplane with a full instrument panel that can be built to weigh less than Part 103’s 254-pound maximum. Though employing plenty of costly carbon fiber including on the firewall, Belite uses a welded steel frame for strength and safety. The premium Belite 254 CF includes carbon fiber wing spars and ribs, hydraulic brakes, aluminum wheels, full flight instrumentation, built in transceiver, a bigger 45-hp engine, enhanced electrical system, and a Gizmo GPS dock. Belite also features a five-gallon detachable tank with integrated electronic fuel sender for easy refilling, full Lexan windshield and skylight and easily-foldable wings. A simpler model weighing only 242 pounds actually allows some options. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that a tech entrepreneur would make use of the Internet. Check James Wiebe’s blog about Belite.
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