Americans know Zigolo thanks to U.S. importer, Chip Erwin. He brought the genuine Part 103 ultralight to the USA but also to other countries where he found customers. Those who know Chip are aware he has many international connections. Beside importing aircraft to the USA and helping customers build them, Chip experimented with electric propulsion for Zigolo. In short, he did a lot for Italian producer Aviad but Chip is now focused on his Merlin PSA and Merlin Lite plus his Hybird V-Twin, 60 horsepower, four stroke engine. You’ll be hearing more about that as Sun ‘n Fun 2022 approaches. Welcome to Zigolo Mg21 Check out earlier articles on Zigolo — here’s a full pilot report — but know this: While Mg21 shares the name Zigolo, nearly everything about the new model from Aviad developer Francesco Di Martino is different.
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Electric Power — Chip Erwin’s new development (4/15)
Electric aircraft are a major buzz with even aviation gian Airbus working on their eFan. That's still years away and will surely be expensive. However, SportCruiser developer Chip Erwin has an all-new motor with specially adapted battery. The details should impress you and he is also developing new single place airplanes -- that he calls PSA or Personal Sport Aircraft -- which will be powered by the new electric propulsion.
Electric aircraft are a major buzz with even aviation gian Airbus working on their eFan. That’s still years away and will surely be expensive. However, SportCruiser developer Chip Erwin has an all-new motor with specially adapted battery. The details should impress you and he is also developing new single place airplanes — that he calls PSA or Personal Sport Aircraft — which will be powered by the new electric propulsion.
Aviad — Zigolo MG12 (electric motoglider 2014)
How about an electric airplane you can buy for less than $20,000? Delivered as "almost ready to fly" Italy's Zigolo is offered in the USA at South Lakeland Airpark (where you see this aircraft flying). Proprietor Chip Erwin, originator of the SportCruiser, tells us how he added electric power to Zigolo and flew it cross country to Sun 'n Fun 2014. This is not a family travel airplane but for those who enjoy soaring or leisure flying, Zigolo represents an economical purchse.
How about an electric airplane you can buy for less than $20,000? Delivered as “almost ready to fly” Italy’s Zigolo is offered in the USA at South Lakeland Airpark (where you see this aircraft flying). Proprietor Chip Erwin, originator of the SportCruiser, tells us how he added electric power to Zigolo and flew it cross country to Sun ‘n Fun 2014. This is not a family travel airplane but for those who enjoy soaring or leisure flying, Zigolo represents an economical purchse.
What Will 15 Days and $15,000 Get You?
This website focuses on the affordable end of aviation. However, “affordable” is a relative term. I’ve written about Icon’s A5, which may set the bar highest among Light-Sport Aircraft at around $247,000 for a well-equipped LSA seaplane. (See our Video Pilot Report.) If you had the money would you buy an A5 or a Cessna 172 Skyhawk for around $400,000. You probably have a response but then, the question is rhetorical because most readers likely don’t have a quarter-million to do drop on a LSA, no matter how magnificent it may be. I’ve also written about the $16,000 (or so) fully-built Aerolite 103. Some think that’s a wonderful deal on a very nice single seat airplane. Yet at least one person wrote on my Dan Johnson Media / Affordable Aviation Facebook page that even Aerolite is too expensive. Fair enough. We all have different budgets.
PSA: An Affordable Aircraft?
The following article is a guest editorial by Chip Erwin, a name many rightfully associate with the highly successful SportCruiser LSA. A restless entrepreneur, Chip has been working behind the curtain for several years. He emerged with the Zigolo and is now proposing a fresh name for a segment that seems to have energy behind it. I have reported on England’s new SSDR 300 category and I have observed the rejuvenation of Part 103 vehicles. So, on our recent travels to China, I encouraged Chip to express what he has in mind. Article Update 6/15/15 — At the end of this article see our video shot at Sun ‘n Fun 2015 regarding Chip’s electric motor and plans. Is “affordable aircraft” an oxymoron? For most people, probably yes. One answer could be a class of aircraft I like to refer to as a PSA, or Personal Sport Aircraft.
Zigolo Cracks the China Market as Part 103!
I didn’t see this one coming. Maybe you didn’t either? In the new millennia gold rush represented by companies either being bought by Chinese businesses or gaining investment from wealthy Chinese business people or by setting up shop to sell in China (or even Cessna’s ill-fated effort to have their Skycatcher manufactured in China), one element I’ve never heard of is Part 103 in China. This least-regulated-of-all aviation category is solely an American thing, isn’t it? Well … yes and no. Germany has opened the door to a Part 103-like development in that country under the 120-kilogram class (using a number that is 264 pounds or very similar to Part 103’s 254-pound empty weight limit). England has their SSDR class (SSDR being the abbreviation for Single Seat De-Regulated). Despite following those developments, I’ve never heard a word about China and any less-regulated sector. “The first Zigolo in China was introduced to the public in that nation on July 17th at the Jingmen Airshow,” reported representative Chip W.
Flying the Zigolo Motorglider … a Pilot Report
For many of us, the principal reason we fly is for fun. Not to go anywhere but up, or for no other reason than that the sky is always waiting, but never impatient. Unfortunately this very pure idea became subverted along the way, as the Cubs and Champs of our forefathers were replaced by the efficient but banal 150 and PA28. As the fun diminished the costs rose in proportion. One of the original ideas behind the whole LSA concept was affordability, but with some aircraft now priced up to $200,000 that particular principle seems to have been forgotten [though more modestly priced LSA do remain available]. Consequently, when Chip Erwin of Aeromarine LSA told me at the 2014 Sebring LSA Expo that he was bringing a new aircraft to market that required minimal assembly yet cost only $16,000 including the motor and a parachute rescue system you can bet I was interested.
Last News Rush Before Sebring 2014 …
People are starting to arrive in Florida. Today, we had a pleasant lunch conversation with Dynon’s president Robert Hamilton. He observed that Dynon enjoyed their best year ever in 2013 and they continue bringing new avionics innovations at modest prices. Fellow Dynon staffer Kirk Kleinholz was in the state even earlier traveling around offering tech support. Great work, Dynon-ers! As we all enter the last-minute rush to head to the tenth Sebring, a few news items arrived and I’ll run through them so you have some idea of what will be present at the LSA event. Progressive Aerodyne announced they received FAA acceptance for the Elite version of their Searey Amphibious LSA. Searey Elite is mightily powered with a Rotax 914 turbocharged engine; you can see a short video of it launching in this article. “This stylish aircraft offers many advanced features such as a large sliding canopy that can remain open while flying.