Article Updated 9/7/15 — See new information at the bottom of this article. Coming up TOMORROW! — September 8-9-10, 2016 — is the Midwest LSA Expo. I’m on-site for all three days in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. More info: Midwest LSA Expo. Only six years after Steve Jobs proudly announced the first iPad, the tablet device seems to have fully conquered aviation. Airline captains routinely use iPads in lieu of bulky printed instrument charts. GA airplane owners with analog panels commonly use an iPad to join the digital revolution without needing to get FAA’s permission. And, LSA developers often accommodate the iDevice; indeed, some Light-Sports make do solely with iPads, occasionally multiple devices. Despite his visionary prowess, I bet Steve Jobs never imagined such a result. Unfortunately, he didn’t live long enough to see the cockpit transformation his gizmo caused. However, if you’ve flown with an iPad, you know you need some way to hold it that allows access to its wealth of information without interfering with airplane operation.
FK-Lightplanes FK9 Mark III
Phone: (011) 48-134-219-497Korczyna, -- 38420 - Poland
The FK Lightplanes company has released its new Fk9 ELA that more closely meets U.S. LSA regulations but its Mark IV version of the Fk9 is one of Germany's most popular light aircraft. See it in this video atop straight Baumann floats made in Minnesota.
He could see the benefit for his company’s sales, so Fk Leichtflugzeuge — or FK Lightplanes — president Peter Funk came from Speyer, Germany to support his new American importer, Tony Anderson of Fk Lightplanes USA. Tony brought his family operation to Sebring and their classy display at the main intersection of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo attracted the attention of many in attendance. The intensely yellow Fk9 turned heads and lifted 25 pilots who took demo flights during Sebring. “I was very happy to see how well our high wing model was received,” said a smiling Peter Funk. The Fk9 Mk IV is a well-evolved design. Since the Mk I model flew in 1989, more than 300 aircraft have been delivered. The latest generation Mk IV features a wider cockpit area, four inches more legroom, and improved seat comfort. Unlike many LSA, Fk9 is available as a kit, fast-build kit, or ready-to-fly SLSA.
More than a decade ago, Tony Anderson started teaching students how to fly on floats. Today, his family enterprise spreads across three aviation businesses. In a recent visit I was most impressed to witness what the Andersons have built. From their home base with hangar right on an in-town lake to the North Perry Airport FBO to a downtown Miami seaplane operation, Tony and son Adriel have this major tropical metro covered. At North Perry they also run their FK Lightplanes USA enterprise, importing and selling the Fk9, Polaris, and Comet. On my visit the Fk9 used for training was constantly busy plus I saw two brand-new Fk9s available for immediate delivery. Across the city in downtown Miami, Tony and Adriel operate several Drifter 912s on straight Lotus floats. Adriel directs this training and intro lesson operation. He’s accumulated a rather astounding 5,000 hours in one particular Drifter and it isn’t the only aircraft he flies.
The feature of folding wings is credited with the sale of many aircraft by brands such as Kitfox and Kolb (among numerous others). Promoting the Sport Pilot certificate, I’ve visited flight schools at busy airports where one of the obstacles to growth — and to adding a LSA as a trainer — has been a lack of more space to hangar their fleet. Now with FK Lightplanes USA bringing in their first two FK9 Mark IV B models, this could change. *** The Florida-based importer for the German design used in many of that country’s flight schools recently took delivery of its first two “B” versions configured as they will routinely import them. Their selection includes two-feet less span with the 100-hp Rotax 912S and folding wings as the standard model (though the 80-horse, non-folding wing models can be special ordered). The first customer, taking both aircraft, was the cooperative LetsFly.org that helps buyers share ownership of LSA and other aircraft.
For years, FK Lightplanes has been a leading supplier in Europe. Designs are created by Otto and Peter Funk, the father and son team that introduced the FK9 Mark IV (all-round use and trainer design), the FK12 Comet (enclosed, folding biwing), and the elegant FK14 Polaris, a modern LSA candidate available in tricycle gear or taildragger. FK planes appointed Wings of Paradise their American representative. Based in south Florida at North Perry Airport (HWO), Wings of Paradise is a longtime ultralight dealer and provider of lessons on Miami area beaches. FK Lightplanes sells models like the FK14 Polaris in 51% kit form, fast-build form, and it is available ready-to-fly. Wings of Paradise is working with the German producer to meet SLSA standards; the design is certified under Germany’s Microlight rules. E-mail contact.
FK Lightplanes FK9 Mk IV becomes our 21st SLSA since April 15 (a rate of 3 per month!). A longtime ultralight enthusiast with a list of FAA ratings, importer Tony Anderson has moved fast since securing distribution of Germany’s FK Lightplanes. Since my SPLOG two days ago, Tony was able to confirm by copy of his Airworthiness Certificate the SLSA approval for the FK9 Mk IV on November 17th. Here is a proven microlight design built very lightly (590 pounds empty) using fiberglass over steel construction. Powered by a Rotax 912 or 912S, FK9 cruises at 105 knots and climbs 1,500 fpm at gross (with 100 hp engine at 1,146 pounds gross weight). In service for many years in Germany, FK9 is quite popular with flight schools. It also has the slickest of wing folding mechanisms. A single person can unhook the wing — from the tip — and fold the wing.
|Empty weight||572 lbs|
|Gross weight||992 lbs (European Microlight model)|
|Wing area||125 sq ft|
|Cruise speed||120-135 mph|
|Stall Speed (Flaps)||40 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||1,100 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||395 ft|
|Landing distance at gross||500 ft|
|Range (powered)||(standard tank) 500 mi|
|Notes:||The Mark III model has now been updated to the Mark IV (report to follow). Fk-9 Mark IV has been approved as a Special Light-Sport Aircraft (11/05)|
Sleek composite microlight performs like a GA aircraft In the Dec. 11 Flyer, I wrote about the Albatros, which I call a hybrid ultralight because it bridges older tube-and-rag ultralights and new all-composite models. This month we look at the German-built FK-9 from B&F Technik. A new breed with an interesting history, it too emerged from an earlier design. In fact, the FK-9 shown in photos that accompany this story is the glass-fiber Mark 3. Its predecessors, the Mark 1 and Mark 2, used fabric skins, putting them more in the hybrid category. To review briefly, hybrid microlights are flying machines that employ the best ideas of familiar ultralight designs, such as sewn Dacron wings and aluminum airframes, yet combine those proven components with composite fuselages and welded steel parts. Simple construction keeps many small builders in business. Conversely, the composite microlights are typically all-composite designs (or composite over steel) using newer construction technology and techniques.