Over many years, many people have done solid work to accommodate people who are physically challenged in one way or another. That’s great! More opportunities to bring in motivated pilots is worthwhile. Yet designers have been hampered from making such changes, partly as they are burdened by a certification system that is simply too rigid to make the effort of approval worth it for small numbers of specially-equipped aircraft. Cars, hotel rooms, curb construction, building ramps, smartphones, and more …all accommodate persons with disabilities. That’s wonderful, however… All those arrangements that make life easier for someone in a wheelchair must nonetheless cope with strenuous regulatory demands. Cars, hotels, and smartphones are created by vastly larger enterprises with staff to handle regulatory burdens. In the more intimate world of recreational aviation, the industry is composed of much smaller enterprises. A lighter regulatory hand (using ASTM standards instead of full FAA certification) allows easier airframe customization for specific purposes — such as hand control fittings and linkages — and this system allows changes on a dramatically faster schedule.
Montaer Aeronaves (Brazil) MC01
Phone: +55 75-3015-1207, - Brazil
You've Got Video!For a few airshows now, I've had to do my job and Videoman Dave's job. Maybe I should clarify: I mean the on-site camera work plus the keeping track of what we're doing next, handling a load of gear, planning the next day's video stories, downloading huge video files each evening and placing them somewhere to be used later, and charging up everything you own as you sleep. While we're shooting a video, Dave takes a director's view of where we're going and guides us along. He's also very aircraft-savvy so if we lack a piece of information, he can often provide it. The show must go on, you know. Despite the challenges of working at a great distance, I've been sending loads of raw video up to Dave in Canada and he has been editing away hour upon hour. In this article, I want to introduce you to four recently released videos I think you will enjoy. Merlin New-Age Electric / Innovative — One of the most innovative creations I saw at Oshkosh was Merlin Lite with DEP-OD. Huh? The military-like abbreviation means Distributed Electric Propulsion – On Demand. "Yeah, what does that mean," you ask? While this electric-aided aircraft was a demonstrator — not the Merlin Lite Part 103 aircraft Aeromarine-LSA is about to start delivering — it could become a Part 103, possibly. That isn't important because the two Merlin versions are for different needs. A Part 103 Merlin Lite already needs so little room to take off and land that shortening it is hardly necessary for regular use. Merlin Lite will come with the new Polini 303 that is sweeping championships and, in a surprise outcome, bolting on the new engine resulted in more legroom. My first introductory article about Merlin Lite was our most-read story for all of 2020. In this video learn the latest changes to this flying machine that attracted so much interest. https://youtu.be/Gaah_1WBViU
Oh-So-Fast JMB VL3 / Speedster — Shooting like lightning across the sky, JMB is now beginning to install and deliver their sleek speed machine with Rotax's potent 915iS. How fast can you go on 6-7 gph? Pretty darn fast. In the video below, we saw some of VL3's impressive speed capability while being propelled by Rotax's turbo 914. No question remains in my mind that this is one of the genuine speedsters in the LSA space …in fact, it will give a good run to most kit-built aircraft. At Oshkosh, as at Sun 'n Fun, importer Alion Aviation — joined at AirVenture by JMB Aircraft boss, Jean-Marie Guisset — displayed their VL3 with Rotax's most powerful 915iS turbocharged, intercooled, 141-horsepower engine. This seems to fulfill the prophecy that "if something is good, then more is better, and too much is just enough." I'd say you should keep your eye on VL3 except you might need to look quickly to catch this one. Like many airplane exhibitors, Jean-Marie lead his team to protect their smooth birds when hail threatened one night at Oshkosh. No damage was reported but the team got a bit less sleep moving their aircraft to protect them. https://youtu.be/xdWaP_DWkT4
Roomy and Well-Behaved Montaer MC01 / Touring — One of the most common questions I get involves payload. How much stuff can you carry and how do big fellows fit? I get it. We enjoy eating our hamburgers and we want to carry our gear with us. Some LSA are rather limited but others, well… how about this roomy choice? One of the newest entries, Montaer found a good home (and representation) by linking up with Alex Rolinski and his Aero Adventure team at the DeLand airport. They recently moved into new quarters not far from their former location. Once all the inventory and tooling are fully relocated, the Montaer USA crew will sell and service the Montaer in an interesting cooperation with the group at nearby Seamax USA. Aero Adventures already does service work for Seamax LSA in addition to supporting their Aventura line. Now they will have this all-metal, high wing, big-capacity Light-Sport Aircraft, the MC01. With its cavernous interior, three-door access, and finely-finished wing (just try to find the rivets on this beauty!), Montaer's new flying machine will start its U.S. distribution. Alex reported they sold the first models at AirVenture 2021. https://youtu.be/z7lx43BIOZQ
Affordable and Handsome Ultralights / Affordable — Tri-State is one of those companies that's been around a long time yet you may still not know of it. Well, that won't do. You should know about Smithsilvers or Quicksmiths (casual, not official references). Tri-State Kite Sales, which did not exhibit at AirVenture, remains one of America's best-kept secrets about highly affordable aircraft. A strong local community has built up around the Mark Smith-created enterprise …a loyal bunch of customers any manufacturer would love to serve. While the model closely resembles the Quicksilver line (represented today by Air-Tech, Inc.) and while Tri-State does make many after-market components for the popular brand, Tri-State has their own whole aircraft as seen in the video below. The company fabricates all parts in house including the artful job of sewing the Dacron wings used on this line of aircraft. In fact, they do lots of replacement and original equipment part making, enough so that they stay very busy and going to every airshow — even big ones like Oshkosh — have not been a priority. Hopefully, they'll make a return visit to the Midwest LSA Expo coming up in just a couple weeks. Come check it out; I hope to see you in Mt. Vernon, Illinois September 9, 10, and 11, 2021. https://youtu.be/-bzi2HN2hd4
For 18 months, the world has been under assault from a bug so small you can’t see it without a big microscope. Plenty of us are hungry to return to what we once quaintly called “normal.” Hundreds of thousands of people at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 started back on that path! Let’s review: Lots of people. Lots of exhibitors. Perhaps a record number of aircraft flown to the show by visitors. Airplanes were selling, according to many vendors. Weather was good; it only rained at night. No serious accidents. No subsequent reports of any “superspreading.” I’d say it’s all good, except… I was able to gather lots of material and put up daily posts. That made for very long days and short nights of sleep but it’s what many readers have asked for and I’m happy to oblige. What I did not do was shoot enough video. In the five days I attended, my Apple Watch said I walked almost 75 miles, nearly 15 miles a day on average.
Now, Welcome MontaerThe first airshow in too long, Sun 'n Fun 2021 is where Montaer made its formal debut to American pilots. Displayed in Paradise City — Sun 'n Fun's main light aircraft area — MC01 jumped out to get your attention in a bright red, white, and black paint job. Montaer Aeronaves, the Brazilian company name, formed in late 2013 "with the aim of bringing innovation to national aviation." An engineer who formerly worked with Paradise Aircraft, Bruno de Oliveira leads the company. If you think Montaer looks remarkably like Paradise and the P1NG, you'd be right though Bruno reported he has made "numerous changes and refinements." Montaer's MC01 starts with 4130 molybdenum steel tube "to provide greater safety to the crew." MC01 is skinned with an aluminum fuselage and wings. These materials are popular with American pilots who are aware they can achieve repairs almost anywhere. MC01 is powered with the 100 horsepower Rotax 912 that now also offers service not only all over the U.S., but around the world. Aimed at GA Pilots —Montaer followed the lead of Paradise in using a control configuration that will seem completely familiar to the legions of pilots that have been trained in Cessnas and Pipers. MC01 has dual control yokes with a steerable nose wheel and dual toe brakes. Although many Sport Pilots say they prefer — or at least have adjusted to — joystick control, many pilots find control yokes preferable. No joystick option is presently available. However, Montaer has also followed Paradise's lead by offering hand controls to accommodates pilots who want to fly but have lost the use of their legs. In fact, the very first American purchase of Montaer MC01 is going to such a pilot up near Oshkosh. I'm sure I join many others in congratulating Bruno and Montaer in making arrangements for such people to achieve their dreams of flight. Features of MC01 — MC01 is well equipped with a 10-inch Garmin G3X Touch screen, a G5 back-up system, GMC 507 autopilot, and a GTX 35R transponder with ADSB out (photo). Elevator trim controls are provided on both yokes. At the base of the instrument panel pilots will find all circuit breakers and other switches. Throughout this design, you see a layout that most pilots will find familiar and comfortable. All these common controls may help pilots quickly adapt to flying Light-Sport. Montaer has installed all leather seats, headliner and side panels (photo). The interior fit and finish will please most pilots. Both seats are fully adjustable forward and back allowing, for comfort for tall and short people. These adjustments can be made while sitting in the seat. Yet MC01's seats do more. Again similar to Paradise models — which are no longer available in the USA — MC01 has fully-reclining seats. While the company said, "This is important for tall people to adjust the seats for more head space," it brings additional benefits. For example, if you want to camp in your MC01, the reclining seats can provide a sleeping surface. The aft cabin has sufficient of room to permit this.
Three-Door ConfigurationAlthough Jabiru offers three doors on their J-250 and J-230 series, no other LSA producer offers a full human-entry-sized door aft of the main two doors most Light-Sport Aircraft offer. Paradise has such an arrangement and so does Montaer. However, the two airplanes diverge as Montaer puts the third door on the right side of the aircraft where Paradise was on the left. That third door pairs nicely with the hand controls. "A large third door allows pilots with the need to carry their wheel chairs," Montaer noted. While all pilots will applaud the easier access to the spacious baggage area, such access can be the deal maker for a pilot wishing to take his wheel chair along. That is something to celebrate, I believe.
Technical Specifications Montaer MC01 All specifications provided by the factory
- Wing Span — 28 feet 10 inches
- Aircraft length — 21 feet
- Empty weight — 855 pounds
- Useful load — 465 pounds
- Fuel Capacity — 37 gallons
- Range — 780 miles
- Cruise speed — 120 miles per hour
- VNE — 137 miles per hour
- Stall Speed — 45 miles per hour
Perhaps you knew years ago that Brazil was an aviation beehive of activity. Since Santos-Dumont early last century, the South American country has been known for aviation. This millennia, the Brazilians have adapted to Light-Sport Aircraft and ASTM standards, which the country’s CAA accepts (as do several other nations). Not only have they populated the skies over Brazil, but several companies have moved to establish their business in the USA. Seamax, Super Petrel, the engineering behind the Texas Aircraft Colt, Paradise P-1, Flyer SS …all these are Brazilian designs and except for the last two, all have an active U.S. presence and all have the Brazilian factory as a partner or owner. For the record, this is also how Tecnam and others have handled their American representation. This may not assure success but it does keep the factory deeply involved with their entry to aviation’s largest marketplace.
Asking Too Much?Does it seems too much ask that aviation — numbering somewhere around one million pilots globally plus the industry that supports them — provide the path back to better times? I certainly don’t know the future but we’re about to get a first real test of aviation’s resiliency as Sun ‘n Fun 2021 begins on Tuesday April 13th. Sun ‘n Fun has for years been one of Florida’s largest spectator events so even if attendance is off it still implies a very large gathering. To offset any perceived risk, Sun ‘n Fun offers several real positives: the show greatly benefits from being much more an outdoor event than an indoors one; those who wish can easily maintain social distance in most locations, visit any vendor, look at lots of airplanes, and see a great airshow; Sun ‘n Fun is following widely-accepted guidance to assure safety for visitors. Given Florida’s warm conditions, a mostly outdoor venue, and with many attendees already vaccinated, the environment is very welcoming and everyone I know is pulling for Sun ‘n Fun Inc., to log a major success. If you can attend, BRAVO! Sun ‘n Fun will welcome you with open arms (or at least elbow bumps). All their on-site staff and a small army of volunteers will certainly wave and smile. After all, the show is called “sun” and “fun.”
All Y’all, Come On Down!For those that cannot attend, I’ll do my best to buzz around continuously looking for interesting stories in light aviation. Although I'll be working solo while Videoman Dave is not allowed to leave Canada, I will do my best to post here daily if possible.
Can aviation lead us back toward normal? Globally, governments have ordered their citizens to stay at home and all the rest, as you’ve heard ad naseum. Some places — Florida, as a sunshining example — is more open than others but much of civilization remains restricted. • Article updated… see at bottom —DJ Again I ask, “Can aviation lead us back toward normal?” Asking Too Much? Does it seems too much ask that aviation — numbering somewhere around one million pilots globally plus the industry that supports them — provide the path back to better times? I certainly don’t know the future but we’re about to get a first real test of aviation’s resiliency as Sun ‘n Fun 2021 begins on Tuesday April 13th. Sun ‘n Fun has for years been one of Florida’s largest spectator events so even if attendance is off it still implies a very large gathering.
Please Welcome Montaer MC01It's easy to see the visual relationship between MC01 and Paradise's P1NG. While the new model bears a close resemblance to the earlier SLSA, that former LSA is no longer represented in the U.S. market — although several models sold earlier continue to operate. With his MC01, Bruno and Montaer are filling a void. Both models veered away from the uber-common joystick seen on most Light-Sport Aircraft. Yet yoke control has a large global following as Cessna, Piper, Beech, Mooney, and more all use yokes. Since those brands trained most Yankee pilots, it makes sense to offer them a control already familiar to so many pilots. MC01 also continues with a very popular feature: a voluminous baggage area accessed by a third door. Jabiru's J230-D has a third door but this is both very uncommon and very welcome. The Jabiru model has three doors as the large-interior-volume LSA was based on a four seater from the home country of Australia. Bruno's door simply makes access to the spacious rear area (photos) but it varies a bit from the Paradise execution. MC01's door is on the right where P1NG had it on the left. MC01 causes many observers to see a LSA that resembles a Cessna 150 but, of course, the LSA is larger and performs with substantially more energy. The very first U.S. delivery of MC01 is headed to Wisconsin where a pilot has ordered one with a very special extra: hand controls, a choice available to offer assistance to some pilots. That airplane is due to leave Brazil in March and may be seen at EAA's big summer show. MC01’s airframe is built using 4130 molybdenum steel tube (photo) providing a proven safety to the occupants. The exterior is all aeronautical aluminum fuselage and wings. A steerable nose wheel, dual toe brakes, and control yokes are just some of the features of this well built airplane. Fortunately, if you make the trip to Florida for Sun ‘n Fun 2021 — April 13-18 — you can look over MC01 in detail in the light aircraft area. Ed Ricks plans a special introductory price that can save thousands so check that out if this airplane looks as good to you as it does to me. Ed started selling ultralights in Arizona when Light-Sport Aircraft first arrived on the aviation stage. Since 2005 he represented Jabiru, Skyboy, and Paradise. He operates out of the Glendale, Arizona municipal airport (KGEU). Ed has known Bruno de Oliveira for eight years and will be in charge of sales in the USA. He is seeking dealers in certain states; if this interests you or if you want more details before Sun 'n Fun, call Ed at 623-695-9040 or send him email. Fully loaded with Garmin G3X 10-inch touch screen, G3X autopilot, and G-5 primary flight display back up, MC01 is priced at $145,000.
Montaer MC01 Special LSA TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
- Wing Span — 28 feet 10 inches
- Wing Area — 124 square feet
- Length — 21 feet
- Empty Weight — 855 pounds (varies with options)
- Useful Load — 465 pounds
- Fuel Capacity — 37 gallons
- Range — 780 nautical miles
- Cruise Speed — 120 miles per hour
- Never-Exceed Speed — 137 miles per hour
- Stall Speed (best flaps) — 45 miles per hour
Welcome our newest entry to the Special LSA fleet: Montaer’s MC01. It’s been added to our SLSA List that so many of you visit regularly. In a way, you already know this aircraft or at least its look-a-like predecessor, Paradise’s P1NG. As happens in every industry, a key engineer left a family airplane building business — Paradise, run by granddad, Noe de Oliveira — and started his own aircraft factory. The departure occurred eight years ago. Now, Bruno de Oliveira has won FAA acceptance of his Special LSA model. Brazil uses ASTM standards as well so he also got approval in the South American country. Importer Ed Ricks of Montaer USA hoped to make it to the Midwest LSA Expo in late summer 2020, but we know all-too well how strange last year was. Many hoped-for gatherings simply fell apart in the year of Covid.
Bristell 915iSThe successful model from the very active BRM Aero in the Czech Republic was always a favorite for its exquisite design with no detail overlooked, with some of the smoothest execution in the industry. It's wide cabin and luxurious appointments puts Bristell almost in a class of its own, with a price tag to match. Bristell with Rotax's uber-powerful, 141-horsepower 915iS fuel injected, turbocharged, and intercooler engine bumps the selling price beyond reach of many aviators while still being a fraction of its equivalent among legacy general aviation airplanes. You'll pay in the high $200,000 range for Bristell 915 but what a superlative airplane you'll receive for that money. While the price might discourage some, fear not, as main man Lou Mancuso also offers a shared ownership program that may be the best I've ever heard (details in this video). As we launched on our photo mission with Bristell going first, it was clear this machine can soar into the sky faster than almost any LSA I've seen short of much-slower-cruising STOL designs. Look for our video to follow with more information about the latest offered by Bristell USA. BRM Aero is definitely a moving target with new models in the works, but as with all the vendors featured in this virtual preview, you will have to learn about the new ideas at a later airshow. Stay tuned! ••• Get Lots More Info — Bristell USA (for North America) or BRM Aero (for other countries)
Jabiru J230DFor a very rare airframe company that also builds its own engines, welcome to the all-new Jabiru J230D with their latest Gen 4 (generation 4) Jabiru engine. The two seater LSA is also supplied as a four seater in its homeland of Australia, so this American model offers not only one of the most voluminous aft cabins in all of LSA-land but a separate, third door to access it. Representative U.S. Sport Planes, led by industry veteran Scott Severen, has demonstrated this baggage capacity with photos showing a large dog sitting comfortably aft of the pilots. Those who struggle to load a couple small bags in most airplanes may be envious of the ease of entry to the back cabin. Yet capacity is not the whole story behind J230D. This new model has refinements to make it fly even nicer. Since J230 models were already able to speed to the top of the category, improvements are focused on fit and finish and handling qualities. In addition to the updated airframe, Jabiru is now in full production on their Gen 4 engine offered in two configurations: a four-cylinder 2200 model producing 80 horsepower; and the six-cylinder 3300 model with 120 horsepower. Learn more about both Gen 4 engines. The J230D uses the later to scoot along at max LSA speed. ••• Get Lots More Info — U.S. Sport Planes
Flight Design F2Flight Design has been busy over the last year. Not only have they come out with their CTLS 2020 (fresh news) but they've put their all-new F2 through multiple tests. The German company is almost ready to begin deliveries. Since I first saw the F2 in mock up, Flight Design has redesigned the intake for two reasons: "to reduce drag as we confirmed the older version was very functional but draggy; and for aesthetic reasons," said the company. "Flight Design team designer and Head of Airworthiness, Christian Majunke, designed conceptually. He also designed a rather novel installation of the coolant and oil radiators," elaborated Flight Design USA representative, Tom Peghiny. Also new panel is an SLSA panel with twin G3X screens, a Garmin GTR 225 Com, Garmin GTX 345 ADSB in and out transponder, Garmin GMC 507 autopilot control head (with dual axis autopilot), and Garmin GMA 245 intercom. Pilot controls remain essentially as they were on the CT-series but note the combined single lever throttle and brake system. "Our F2 prototype number 002 arrived at port in Miami in preparation for display at Sun n Fun 2020," said Tom. Like most vendors, Flight Design USA hoped to go forward with the Lakeland show but will now unveil the new model at Oshkosh 2020 (assuming it remains on schedule). "After completing all SLSA required flight testing including the demanding ASTM 3180 anti-spin requirements, production has started on the first aircraft from production tooling in Germany, Ukraine and the Czech Republic," concluded Tom. ••• Get Lots More Info — Flight Design USA
Whisper X350You know the Czech Cessna-182 lookalike called L600 from AeroPilot USA. You also know the dashing FX1 from InnovAviation in Italy. Both of these interesting models are represented by Deon Lombard of AeroPilot USA, now based in Florida but with representation in California. At Sun 'n Fun 2020, Deon expected to introduce Whisper to American kit builders. Alas, as with the rest of this group, you probably won't see it until July in Wisconsin.
Whisper Aircraft in South Africa has created Whisper X350 Gen II, a two-seat, cross-country sport aircraft with a limit load factor of plus 6.0 and minus 4.0 Gs. Those are merely limit loads. This is a tough bird.
Whisper wings feature a carbon fiber structure tested to an ultimate load factor of 12.0 Gs. The Gen II’s wing tanks offer a total fuel capacity of 63 U.S. gallons, giving a range of 1,000 nautical miles and an endurance of over 6 hours.
"The aircraft also has one of the widest interiors on the market today, featuring optional leather interior and plenty of baggage room making the Gen II perfect for comfortable cross-country trips. This will make a good member of the AeroPilot USA family. A few more specs: Useful Load — 925 pounds; Speed — 175 knots; Range — 1,137 miles.••• Get Lots More Info — AeroPilot USA
Montaer MC-01It might have been one of the great flights to reach Sun 'n Fun 2020, had it occurred. That's because designer and company representative Bruno de Oliveira had planned to fly his new model all the way from Brazil to Lakeland. That alone would have been reason to examine the new Light-Sport Aircraft. Bruno will be aided in his approach to the U.S. market by longtimer, Ed Ricks, who once helped the Paradise Aircraft people with their P1NG (video). Unfortunately, that relationship faded but when Bruno, who once worked for Paradise, struck out on his own, Ed and partner were pleased to get back involved. MC-01's airframe is constructed with 4130 molybdenum steel tube providing a greater safety to the occupants. The exterior is all aeronautical aluminum fuselage and wings. A steerable nose wheel, dual toe brakes, and control yokes are just some of the features of this well built airplane. Learn more here; get more specs here. Had Ed been able to show MC-01 at Sun 'n Fun 2020 he was ready to make a special offer. While this handsome, approved, all-metal airplane normally sells for a reasonable $135,000, an introductory price of only $125,000 was to be the show special. If you're lucky, Ed may extend the offer to AirVenture Oshkosh 2020 (assuming it remains on its present schedule). ••• Get Lots More Info — Montaer USA
While I continue to worry about the cash crunch faced by two of my favorite shows, I am still driven to provide content as if those shows had occurred this year and not been postponed to 2021. Of course, I refer to Aero Friedrichshafen and Sun ‘n Fun, the latter my focus for this post. Here I will relate five aircraft you might have seen in Lakeland last week …before it was bumped to early May, but which is now off until April 2021. I admit I secretly hoped for good news in these sad cancellations that might allow me to attend both events in 2021. I had to pick one over the other in 2020 as they were exactly opposite one another. Unfortunately for my schedule, the year-long postponement didn’t change anything. Sun ‘n Fun 2021 will be 13-18 of April while Aero 2021 is planned for 14-17 April.