Two years ago, I flew and reported on the only model TC’s Trikes offered. Though their line had little depth, the Tennessee company built their own wing and chassis. Many trike chassis builders purchase wings from other sources, much like happens universally in powered parachutes. TC’s Trikes did it all based particularly on their needs as an active flight school operation. In today’s light aircraft world, a wider product line addresses more pilots, which makes a more viable business. Given the pace of refinements, it can be tough to keep up. Yet TC’s Trikes had a track record in the East, selling more than 100 trikes of their own and other brands. Pairing up with another company, if the fit was right, could be smart business. A match was found between TC’s Trikes and Washington state-based North Wing Design. TC’s Trikes had something North Wing lacked – a presence in the Eastern USA.
TC’s Trikes and North Wing Team Up on Coyote
|Empty weight||365 pounds|
|Gross weight||950 pounds|
|Wingspan||33 feet 10 inches (19 and 17.5m), 31 feet 6 inches (15m)|
|Wing loading||5.0 pounds/square foot 1|
|Aspect Ratio||5.8 (19m), 6.1 (17.5m), 6.2 (15m) to 1|
|Height||8 feet, 6 inches|
|Kit type||Fully assembled|
|Set-up time||20 minutes, 1 person|
|Notes:||1 Test Coyote used the Mustang 2 17.5 wing. Wing weight 103 (19m), 102 (17.5m) and 96 (15m) pounds.|
|Standard engine||Rotax 503|
|Power||50 hp at 6,500 rpm|
|Power loading||18.3 lbs/hp|
|Cruise speed||37 mph|
|Never exceed speed||70 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||600 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||85 feet|
|Landing distance at gross||50 feet|
|Standard Features||Rotax 503 with B gearbox, 3-blade quick-adjust IvoProp propeller, North Wing Mustang 15, 17.5, or 19 topless, strutted wing, waterproof carry bag with custom padding, BRS-5 ballistic parachute, mast-pivot takedown system, front shock suspension and hydraulic disk brake, composite suspension rods on main gear, 8-gallon fuel tank, hand and foot throttles, primer kit.|
|Options||40-hp Rotax 447, 65-hp Rotax 582, electric starting with E gearbox, 60-hp MZ-202 (with electric start), heavy-duty TC's Trike front end, EGT, CHT, tachometer, hourmeter, front and rear shoulder harness system, rear-seat steering, rear-seat instructor bars, 5-gallon cross-country refuel system, custom sail colors, custom trike colors.|
|Construction||6061-T6, 7075 and 2024 aluminum chassis and airframe, 4130 chromoly steel, 8 ounce Dacron sailcloth wing. Made in the USA and distributed by American-owned company.|
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros - North Wing Coyte is an entry-level trike melding ideas from two producers. Second generation effort for TC's Trikes using strengths of North Wing Design. Folding mast design for easier setup. CAD-designed chassis. Excellent useful load; more than 500 pounds payload (greater than empty weight).
Cons - Very basic trike (though other top producers have recently offered similar products to yield lower prices). No other negatives.
Subsystems available to pilot such as: Flaps; Fuel sources; Electric start; In-air restart; Brakes; Engine controls; Navigations; Radio; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - North Wing Coyote is simple, meaning few systems to maintain or operate. Exterior fueling will create no smelly spills; optional cross- country tank system could come in handy. Nosewheel brake is standard. Optional rear steering available for instruction. Good engine access.
Cons - No flap controls nor trim (the latter offered on some trikes). Electric starting is optional; may be advised, as pull starting while belted may be difficult for some operators. Instrumentation is sparse and few places are available to add more if desired (though not truly needed).
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - New seats come via the association with North Wing; better padding and 4-point pilot restraints. Though the single-surface wing has a good speed range, North Wing Coyote's lack of a fairing works well with the slow cruising wing. High rear seat affords better visibility to aft occupant than some trikes.
Cons - No seat adjustment. No cargo area (though some space could be available under the seats, as the high-folding mast leaves space in this area). Few good locations for additional instrumentation or radios.
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros - Suspension on main gear legs uses tubing flex that works well for the load. New nosewheel from North Wing Apache has piston suspension. Hydraulic brake on test aircraft. Tremendous visibility without a front fairing. Optional rear steering and throttle available for instructors.
Cons - Though hydraulic brake was powerful, a lightly loaded nosewheel will reduce stopping power during landing (though useful on airport ramps). As on all trikes, you must hold the wing steady by muscle power; Mustang wing is relatively large.
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros - Very short ground roll on takeoff or landing. Slow approach speeds are easier for short- or soft-field landings. Visibility is very open on the North Wing Coyote, especially without a nose fairing. Good ground clearance thanks to gear posture, plus large tires and wheels.
Cons - Suspension limited to tubing flex; touchdowns can therefore feel somewhat firm. As with all large single wings, the Mustang 2 has less energy retention; single-surface wings bleed speed faster. Large wings can be more difficult in strong winds or crosswinds.
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros - Moving to a North Wing Design wing was smart; their designs handle very well. The Mustang 2 offers predictable controls that work well in instructional use. All trike wings have little adverse yaw. Simple control system means less setup error and less time required.
Cons - Single-surface wings, while less expensive and potentially lighter, do not offer the higher speed capability of double-surface wings, nor are they as good in strong winds or crosswinds. No trim device to relieve loads on longer flights (though this trike may rarely be used for such flying).
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros - Climb rate was adequately strong, about 600 fpm in this 2-seat trike with a 50-hp Rotax 503. Pilots who enjoy slow-flying ultralights will like the North Wing Coyote, though the Mustang 2's speed range is admirable. Engine ran very smoothly with little vibration, thanks to Blyth's Barry engine mount.
Cons - No single-surface wing - Mustang 2 included - will accommodate stong winds particularly well. The Coyote is not designed for cross-country flying (unless you have plenty of tme). Glide ratio is not as strong as a double-surface wing (but the Coyote is an entry-level trike which may often be used in training).
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros - Both TC's Trikes and North Wing Design offer parachutes as essential safety devices, appreciated by many customers. Could not enter power-on stalls, and power-off stalls had to be aggravated to see a break. Longitudinal stability was good. Four-point pilot restraints are appropriate, especially with ballistic parachutes.
Cons - An aggravated stall (involving aggressive control input well beyond normal operations) can result in a sharp nose break. No trike lets you dive under high power because thrust pushes nose up. All trike wings have some overbanking tendency; so does the Mustang 2.
Addresses the questions: "Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?"
Pros - In a world of expensive Light-Sport Aircraft candidates, the North Wing Coyote carries a buyer-friendly price. Raised mast breakdown for transport or storage leaves engine well supported, and allows a good location for parachute mounting. Blyth's earlier trike was optimized for training use; new collaboration with North Wing Design improves the Coyote for this usage.
Cons - Limited dealer support (though these companies working together will help service on both coasts).