The major European Airshow, Aero, opened this morning with the usual unveiling of new designs but one aircraft appeared to be the center of attention. Peter Funk had an idea five years back but shelved it for other projects. Now the time is right for his distinctly retro treatment of one of Light-Sport aviation’s sharpest designs, the Fk14 Polaris (Alert readers will identify Polaris as the Cirrus SRS, that GA company’s onetime entry in the LSA sweepstakes.) *** Even experts accustomed to following the latest in new or updated designs were caught off guard by the unorthodox entry (photo). With dual windscreens and race car bodywork, the open cockpit creation charmed many who gained early access to the great exhibit halls of Aero… 11 of them, each the size of a gymnasium. While exhibitors were assembling their displays Fk Lightplanes’ staff grabbed lots of attention with their Fk14 Lemans. *** Constrained by their ongoing contract with Cirrus until the end of the year, Fk Lightplanes sought permission before revealing Lemans and sales will not happen in 2011.
FK-Lightplanes FK14 Polaris
Phone: (011) 48-134-219-497Korczyna, -- 38420 - Poland
U.S. Distributor is Hansen Air Group
Phone: (770) 427-6311Kennesaw, GA 30144 - USA
Light-Sport Aircraft are nothing if not diverse. We have all manner of aircraft on our SLSA List of 104 approved models. Germany’s FK Lightplanes illustrates diversity through their trio of models: high wing Fk9 series; biplane Fk-12; and low wing Fk14. *** In May 2009, the newest iteration of the Fk9 series was flown by designer Peter Funk. The Fk9 ELA (a reference to European Light Aircraft, a new class EASA is planning) is a stretched, roomier model of the popular series. The changes should play well in the American market. *** Peter Funk commented, “It seemed that [Fk9 ELA’s new] winglets are improving control efficiency and low speed characteristics.” In addition, the newest model boasts a larger cabin space, a larger panel with room for big screens, more baggage area, electric flaps, and optional longer-range fuel tanks. The versatile Fk9 ELA is also available on straight or amphibious floats or in taildragger gear.
Over January 17-20, 2008 every significant company in Light-Sport Aircraft will be in Sebring, Florida. The Sebring Expo preludes with an ASTM meeting. During the event LAMA hosts its annual member meeting and dinner plus its board will meet. EAA will organize a slate of info forums. Importantly, vendors can deliver demo flights all day every day. *** Event Chairman Bob Wood reported, “Cirrus Design is the most recent addition to the stellar group of companies now sponsoring the event. They join Cessna, Garmin, The Southern Ford Dealers, and others.” *** Sebring #4 appears bound for new records. Paid exhibit space available increased again in 2008. “We are up nearly 30% in spaces over 2007, and now nearly every one of those is booked,” said Wood. Most of the 47 companies and the 59 models that have achieved SLSA status can be found at Sebring making it the largest collection of LSA anywhere.
EAA AirVenture is full of surprises. We all knew about Cessna’s confirmed LSA entry (though we had to travel to Oshkosh to see its new Skycatcher). Plenty of other surprises are expected. But one that caught almost everybody unawares was the Cirrus Design entry to aviation’s newest segment. *** They’ll import — and modify, or “Cirrus-ize” — FK Lightplane‘s gorgeous Fk14 Polaris. Cirrus cofounder Dale Klapmeier said, “The Polaris is the basis for a Cirrus LSA, which we’ll call the SRS…for Sport.” The successful Duluth builder wanted a low-wing composite to revise into a low-cost trainer in which new pilots can begin moving toward later ownership of a SR20/22 or the Cirrus Jet. *** “We want a fun, exciting LSA that’s also a good trainer,” added Dale. “We want to appeal all those young at heart potential aviators, including kids. Aviation needs to attract more pilots.” Cirrus previewed their new SRS at their company display right at the entrance to Oshkosh on opening-day Monday.
Meet the top model from FK Lightplanes. The frenzy over the FAA’s light-sport aircraft (LSA) and sport pilot proposal continues. Pilots from ultralight to general aviation are discussing it, and the new rule may be released soon, according to those aware of FAA deliberations. We may be about to witness the birth of a new aviation segment. But unlike its predecessors, this one may come with aircraft ready to meet the need. An interesting twist on this American story is that European designs may dominate the first aircraft to fly under the rule, providing they comply with the consensus standards currently being drafted by the community. This month, let’s meet one of the sleekest, FK Lightplanes’ Polaris FK-14 from Germany. A Family Business Peter and Otto Funk are the family members behind the Polaris and its siblings, the high-wing FK-9 (which has gone through three distinct versions) and the folding-wing biplane FK-12.