My computer dictionary says Calypso is “A sea nymph who delayed Odysseus on her island for 7 years.” It is also the name of one of Saturn’s moons, a flower, and a West Indian musical style. Any of these meanings infer a pleasant experience, a sensation sure to be duplicated by the ultralight amphibious Kalypso (spelled with a “K”) with its Krücker-designed floats. I don’t know if the Kalypso is enough to keep you stuck on an island for 7 years, but I found her to be a most desirable ultralight. Take It Home with You Trikes are highly mobile aircraft. One reason they became so popular in Europe and even here in the roomier US of A is that they break down easily. You can carry a trike in a pickup truck – with the right hardware added to properly support chassis and wing. Or you can use a small trailer and carry the wing on your car or truck.
|32.9 feet 1
|192 square feet 1
|4.7 pounds per square foot 1
|12.6 (Includes floats)
|1 Other wing sizes and configurations available
|Rotax 503 DCDI
|50 hp at 6,500 rpm
|17.3 pounds per hp
|Never exceed speed
|Rate of climb at gross
|Takeoff distance at gross
|Landing distance at gross
|Rotax 503, tachometer, Hobbs meter and EGT, 3-blade composite Hotprop, easy-folding Swing Wing trike wing, electric retract amphibious gear, covers for instruments, engine and prop, trike chassis anodized black, floats painted with two-part urethane.
|Hirth or MZ engines (or other preference), BRS emergency parachute, float and wing color choices, instrument packages, custom trailer.
|Aluminum airframe, Dacron wing, welded aluminum floats, welded aluminum parts (like front fork). Made in Canada.
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros - Many have stumbled with trikes on floats, but designer J. P. Krücker seems to have succeeded nicely. Works very well in the water (for its intended purpose of local area flying). Functions exceptionally well with two large men aboard and a 50-hp Rotax 503 powerplant, rare among 2-place floatplanes. Floats performed well and retract mechanism was impressive.
Cons - Has some appearances of a new work, with a machine-shop look. Refinements may follow (though from a functional standpoint I found little to be lacking). No word on reparability of the welded aluminum floats. Product too new to find any problems associated with continued operations.
Subsystems available to pilot such as: Flaps; Fuel sources; Electric start; In-air restart; Brakes; Engine controls; Navigations; Radio; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Retract mechanism is as good as I've seen. In shallow water it actually pushed two of us up on the wheels (some flotation helped). Wing folding mechanism allows breakdown of the wing without removal. Pull starter high overhead makes for a reasonable pull stroke. Easy refuelling to rear seat back tank while standing on one float. Hand crank for gear extension backup.
Cons - Ultralight amphibs often don't have brakes as the wheels get wet regularly; the Kalypso has none. No flaps to help with landings (though hardly needed thanks to slow-speed wing). No trim system available. Only instrumentation fitted was a tachometer and dual EGT, though the instrument pod had room for much more.
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Front seat flips up for access to battery and electric retract mechanism. Front seat had a removable seat back that supports front occupant better. Simple cockpit eases entry; standing on one float presents no problem. Slow flying design makes an open cockpit most enjoyable in the right weather.
Cons - Seats leave something to be desired for comfort (though you probably won't stay in the seats all that long unless you're an instructor). No seat adjustment. Lap belts, though of good quality, aren't enough. No cargo storage (though this isn't a cross-country ultralight). Not a good cold-weather flying machine.
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros - (All comments for water handling.) Even with only a single rudder, I was able to maneuver off the lake and into and down a 20-foot-wide channel then turn 90° to beach the Kalypso (winds were very light); another rudder should make it very maneuverable. Like most ultralights, draft is very low so operations in shallow waters aren't a problem.
Cons - (All comments for water handling.) Single rudder on test trike is insufficient for some water operations; not enough turning power.
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros - Takeoff run is very short and landings are simple, requiring only a bit of attention to flaring to settle into the water almost splash-free. Some trikes can be tricky to launch. Landings are very easy. Launch technique was greatly simplified by the short time on the water and the slow speed at rotation. Hand crank for gear extension in event of electrical failure.
Cons - Don't flare at all (that is, do an "attitude landing") and I proved you could splash yourself a little. Other than that, I can think of no negatives if you fly in modest winds. Tested only with a slow-speed wing. Water operations preparing for takeoff or landing would be aided with a second water rudder.
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros - Single-surface wings do a good job of combining good lifting capacity with lighter handling (at the cost of greater top speed). Roll authority was acceptable even if input didn't produce a fast response. Trikes don't have adverse yaw like 3-axis ultralights do. Precision turns to heading and predictability were good. Good beginner floatplane.
Cons - With 192 square feet, the GibboGear wing doesn't handle as lightly as a smaller wing (which you could choose at the sacrifice of lifting ability). Usual trike limitations to crosswind operations, though these are hardly a factor on water. Very experienced trike pilots may want faster controls.
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros - Krücker Floats leave the water in a very short distance, better than any trike on floats I've flown and comparable to single-place 3-axis ultralights. Quite remarkable to me that the Kalypso works so well with a 50-hp Rotax 503, but it does. Factory states climb is 900 fpm though I couldn't verify due to lack of an altimeter. Sink rate felt slow.
Cons - If the wing gets you off the water quickly, by definition it won't have an impressive top speed and it doesn't (max cruise roughly 50 mph; no ASI installed). Endurance may not be great with a 503 pushing two large people, floats, and a big wing through the air.
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros - Very slow stall speed; I couldn't judge as no ASI, but wing maker reports a 21-mph stall. Stalls were very mild in response characteristics; no wing falloff discovered. Wing felt very stable and quite acceptable to a beginner or novice. Very unlikely to enter a spin; takes specific effort in hang glider-type wings.
Cons - While lap belts only are common on seaplanes to facilitate quick escape in event of water upset, they are not enough. A reliable quick-release mechanism to a 4-point system would be better. Throttle response on trikes is positive but produces a nose-up attitude even if you pull in liberally.
Addresses the questions: "Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?"
Pros - The Kalypso is a highly functional trike that does its job exceptionally well; it should satisfy most buyers of this kind of machine. Good for pilots new to either trikes or floatplanes (though techniques are different from 3-axis floatplanes). Pricing is reasonable when you compare to other amphibians. Easily fits Part 103 exemption for flight instruction.
Cons - New and unknown supplier to the ultralight community. Finish quality is far from that found on Air Création, Cosmos, or Pegasus trikes (but this won't be hard to improve). Trike chassis testing unknown. Too early to evaluate delivery times and factory response to issues. Dealer network just being built.