This month I wrote a pilot’s report about two widely different aircraft, both of which are imported by Rollison Airplane Company. Here’s how I handled it. Every “Ultralight Flying! Pilot’s Report” has common elements: a main article, photos and photo legends, specifications, and our exclusive “Report Card.” Because the two subject flying machines are so different this month, I’ve prepared a “Report Card” for each aircraft. I did the same for specifications as the standard and optional features obviously differ too much for grouping. In the main article, I take alternate looks at the two flying machines as a way to observe their differences, but further how they each have their benefits. I also selected more photos – even though Ultralight Flying! reports regularly present many photos of ultralights being reviewed as readers often say that photos are a key informative element. Because reviewing two different craft makes for a longer pilot report, I’ve somewhat abbreviated both the main article and the twin “Report Cards.” Quite a few general aviation pilots recognize that ultralights offer a different way to fly| and that’s precisely what they like about them.
|Empty weight||490 pounds|
|Gross weight||900 pounds|
|Wingspan||33.75 feet 1|
|Wing area||168 square feet|
|Wing loading||5.4 pounds per square foot|
|Kit type||Fully assembled 1|
|Build time||Assembly from shipping only|
|Notes:||1certified in England|
|Standard engine||Rotax 9122|
|Power||80 hp at 5,500 rpm|
|Power loading||11.2 pounds per hp.|
|Cruise speed||50-65 mph|
|Never exceed speed||90 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||1,100 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||200 feet|
|Landing distance at gross||250 feet|
|Notes:||2as tested; also available with 50-hp Rotax 503 or 65-hp 582.|
|Standard Features||Full assembly, certified Pegasus Q2 double-surface wing, wing-lift gas strut to ease setup, dual rear brakes, parking brake, remote choke, in-flight adjustable trim, foot and hand throttles. Full assembly, certified Pegasus Q2 double-surface wing, wing-lift gas strut to ease setup, dual rear brakes, parking brake, remote choke, in-flight adjustable trim, foot and hand throttles.|
|Options||50-hp Rotax 503 or 65-hp 582 (at lower cost than test aircraft), dual control system, electric starter, additional instruments, choice of wings (all certified in England), ballistic parachute.|
|Construction||Aluminum airframe, fiberglass fairing and wheel pants, steel engine mount and landing gear, Trilam and Dacron sailcloth on wing. Made in England.|
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros - Highly proven design with demanding English certification. Very evolved trike design. Effective wing-lift gas strut aids setup of heavy wing. All documents originally produced in English, easier on American readers.
Cons - Uses style of breakdown that moves engine; more weight to move (even with the gas strut) and doesn't brace engine as well in transport. Designed for cross-country flight at some sacrifice of handling ease.
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 - Trim system is effective and useful. Brakes operate on rear wheels for improved traction. Also has a parking brake. Easy, clean refueling. Electric starting. Close access to well-marked controls.
Cons - No flaps or significant slip capability (like all trikes) to aid landing approaches. Can't hand-pull a stopped 4-stroke 80-hp 912 in the air (though 50-hp Rotax 503 and 65-hp 582 available). Foot throttle is vexing to many general aviation-trained pilots.
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Trike entry is among the easiest in aviation. Superb visibility; can even move wing to increase visibility. Brakes operate easily. Instruments within easy vision range. Cabin kept out runway debris. Good suspension. Rear steering foot bar.
Cons - Partially-faired cockpit won't be enough for some pilots. Tandem seating isn't for everyone and these are closely positioned (as on most trikes). Seats don't easily adjust for different size pilots.
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros - Maneuvering any trike on a crowded ramp is easy, Quantum included. Fairly tight turning. Broad secure stance; trike carriage is very substantially built.
Cons - Nosewheel isn't dampened (like some); moved so easily, ground upset potential is higher. Handling a stout trike wing in gusty conditions requires muscle power. Working a foot throttle while also steering with feet confounds some pilots.
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros - Trike takeoffs are simplicity: full power and push out, you can't push too far (though you'd have to relax if power fails). Landings are also easy with a design that puts the mains down first.
Cons - Some pilots just can't get used to trike takekoffs; the pendular swing forward can be disconcerting. Use too much nosewheel at the wrong time and you can upset a fast landing rollout (of course, you shouldn't touch down so fast).
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros - Smooth handling makes up for lack of quick and light response. It takes a lot to overcontrol a Quantum, so movements won't seem erratic to students. Very low adverse yaw (like most trikes).
Cons - Many heavy trikes are physically demanding to handle; Quantum is among those designs. Turns to headings and last-second adjustments on approach require finesse that only comes from experience. Challenging in crosswinds.
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros - Four-stroke 80-hp Rotax 912 gives Quantum worthy performance. Climb is better than 1,000 fpm at gross. Fuel economy better than a 2-stroke 65-hp Rotax 582. Very good trike speed range (30-90 mph).
Cons - To fit English weight rules, fuel quantity is limited, which restricts range to a couple hours (about 130 miles). Low-over-the-ground flying isn't the Quantum's strong area. Like most trikes, trim speed is rather narrow (though Quantum's trim system does widen).
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros - English certification brings assurance that I verified: the Quantum is very benign in all stability checks. Will not stall with full power. Passed longitudinal check easily. Again, very low adverse yaw.
Cons - Like all trikes, turns can be too steep for easy recovery; pilot must limit bank angles. Crosswinds are challenging on landings.
Addresses the questions: "Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?"
Pros - Well equipped ultralight; top-of-the-line offering from Pegasus. Stable company with full English certification reassures buyers. U.S. importer Rollison Airplane Company is an established business.
Cons - The Quantum 912 is a costly choice (though less expensive Pegasus trikes are available). Rollison is the sole U.S. source for Quantum (for now). No matter how deluxe it is, not everyone likes trikes; may affect resale ability.