Do you think you can find Latvia on a map? Do you know anything about the country? You’ll know more after reading this article. I was underinformed about Latvia and had no awareness of its aviation capabilities. Hint: Latvia is east of Sweden, well north among the Eastern European countries. It is reasonably distant from hostilities in eastern Ukraine. One Latvian company’s ability to build a good-looking airplane is seen in nearby images. I was alerted to visit Belmont by my journalist friend, Marino Boric, who suggested I have a look at Belmont primarily because it carries quite an agreeable price point: €96,000. At today’s exchange rate ($1 = €1.09), that translates to $105,000 before shipping and related transport expenses. I realize everybody’s budget is different. Nonetheless, after the world has experienced at least 20% inflation over the Covid years (many experts believe inflation has been considerably higher), $105,000 for a airplane that looks like what you see in these images is, I believe, quite a bargain in 2023.
Introducing Belmont Patino DW200The design is not brand new; it debuted at Aero 2018. I gave it a brief reference when reporting from Aero 2019. Yet the design only days ago won German approval. Remember, the global response to Covid damaged economies and created supply chain problems between Belmont's debut and the recent approval. The German system is not identical to ASTM but is similar enough to suggest the company could achieve Special LSA acceptance. At present, this design has no U.S. representation but they have attracted distributors in Europe. At this list price, an existing LSA seller in America may show interest in importing the Belmont Patino DW200 to offer an alternative to higher-priced models. "DW200 is a two-seat, all-metal, low-wing aircraft with side-by-side seats," said Belmont. "The landing gear consists of a fixed tricycle landing gear with steerable nose wheel." Belmont's model comes standard with a Rotax 912 ULS producing 100 horsepower paired with a ground-adjustable, three-blade composite propeller. Optionally, Belmont offers the fuel-injected Rotax 912iS, the turbo-charged 914, and UL Power's 130 horsepower 350is. This link provides a detailed description of the aircraft in adequate English, although some readers may wish to convert metric to American measurements. For essential specs that may interest you, I present data both ways below. Belmont Aero was founded by owner and pilot, Juris Libmanis in 2017. Belmont won their Germany approval recently, on April 13, 2023. Earning that credential opens the door for sales in many European countries that honor German rules. As mentioned, it will also help Belmont make their 8130-15 declaration to U.S. industry consensus standards — which are also used, with minor variations, in several other countries. Belmont's wing is all-metal with a rectangular center section and trapezoidal outer sections. All elements are made of aluminum, which may assure some readers concerned with repairs for an aircraft with a distant origin. Slotted wing flaps occupy about two-thirds of the wingspan while the outer third is aileron. An integral aluminum fuel tank is located between ribs 2 and 5 in the leading edge portion of the outer wing. Belmont Patino carries almost 32 gallons of fuel that would easily give it a range of around 800 miles. Main gear are equipped with hydraulic brakes controlled by a hand lever in the cockpit closely located to the throttle for easier one-handed operation. Belmont's main gear legs are a laminate build-up. Beautifully upholstered seats have a composite sandwich structure. Four-point seat belts are standard. Headphone jacks are located behind the pilot's seats. For a more thorough look at the factory and its collection of sophisticated manufacturing equipment, visit this web page. The website is strenuous about Belmont's adherence to quality. "Our team of engineers takes care of the safety, durability and quality of the aircraft using the latest production technologies," they stated. Belmont DW200 presented well at Aero and looked top quality on display. The company's base price appears reasonable in an age that has seen several LSA cross the $300,000 border. I believe it's fair to call Belmont "affordable."
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS: Belmont Aero Patino (DW 200) all specifications provided by the manufacturer
- Take-off weight — 1,320 pounds / 600 kilograms
- Empty weight, without emergency parachute — 650 pounds / 295 kilograms
- Take-off Distance to 50 feet, from hard surface — 550 feet / 166 meters
- Take-off Distance to 50 feet from turf: 575 feet / 175 meters
- Maximum Horizontal Speed — 140 miles per hour / 122 knots / 225 kilometers per hour
- Maximum Climb Rate at full gross — 1,150 feet per minute / 5.8 meters per second
- Stall Speed, best flaps at full gross — 41 miles per hour / 66 kilometers per hour
- Stall Speed, no flaps at full gross — 45 miles per hour / 73 kilometers per hour
- Maximum Fuel Capacity — 31.7 gallons / 120 liters
- Cabin Width — 43.5 inches / 1.105 meters
- Maximum Luggage Weight, interior — 33 pounds / 15 kilogram
- Maximum Luggage Weight, in each wing — 44 pounds / 20 kilograms
- Engine — Rotax 912 ULS, 100 horsepower