The Beaver and Chinook ultralight-like aircraft are arguably two of the bestknown lightweight designs coming from Canada. Aircraft Sales and Parts, more commonly known as ASAP, is the company that rescued and now manufactures and sells these designs, along with a powered parachute from its sister company, Summit Powered Parachutes. The tale of ASAP’s involvement with the Chinook and Beaver offers insight into ultralight progress – Canadian style. A History Lesson Perhaps the most famous ultralight to come out of Canada is the Beaver. With a reported 2,200 flying units since the early 1980s, it’s a successful design. However, due to corporate missteps by the companies that owned the brand, the Beaver series was nearly lost. Originally, the Beaver models were manufactured by Spectrum Aircraft Inc. Reorganization left the ultralight in the hands of a company called Beaver RX Enterprises. In 1993, that company closed its doors and stranded thousands of Beaver aircraft owners, along with all the dealerships that sold and serviced them.
Summit Powered Parachutes
Phone: (810) 697-9638Yale, MI 48097 - USA
Summit Powered Parachutes beat a group of companies working toward the first Special Light-Sport Aircraft PPC. The Vernon, British Columbia, Canada-based powered parachute producer won their SLSA Airworthiness Certificate on Thursday, April 27, 2006. I flew and reported on the Summit II in the 11/03 edition of Ultralight Flying! Magazine. I found Summit II to be notably different than most other powered parachutes partly due the sliding rudder pedal-like foot controls used to steer the canopy that exhibited fluid action. Last November Summit won German certification in the only such approval by an American company with which I am familiar. This earlier certification may have helped Summit as they prepared for stating compliance to the quite different ASTM standards. Although the powered parachute standard has been done for many months, those producers have not rallied to the new regulation. All that may change now that Summit is out of the gate with their approval.
|Empty weight||310 pounds|
|Gross weight||850 pounds 1|
|Canopy Span||39 feet 1|
|Canopy Area||500 square feet 1|
|Canopy Loading||1.7 pounds/square foot|
|Length||10 feet 4 inches|
|Height||6 feet 2 inches (to roll bar)|
|Kit type||Assembly kit|
|Build time||30-40 hours|
|Notes:||1 For standard Apco PW500 canopy; Summit also offers canopies from Apco and Chiron that carry 950 pounds gross and which cruise up to 40 mph.|
|Standard engine||Rotax 582|
|Power||65 hp at 6,500 rpm|
|Power loading||13.1 pounds per hp|
|Cruise speed||30 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||500 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||150 feet|
|Landing distance at gross||75 feet|
|Standard Features||Rotax 582, instrument console with multifunction electronic monitoring, separate seating with 4-point belts, choice of carriage and canopy colors, 3-blade GSC prop, Azusa mag-style wheels, front wheel brake, canopy bag, line socks, roll bar system.|
|Options||Rotax 503, HKS 700E 4-stroke engine, Rotax 912, possibly Hirth engines, various canopies including elliptical, electric starter, composite prop, additional instruments, composite instrument cowl, windscreen, factory-assembled option, dual throttles, full enclosure coming.|
|Construction||Aluminum airframe (tubing anodized inside and outside), 4130 chromoly, stainless steel, AN hardware. Made in Canada by Canadian-owned company.|
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros - Summit Powered Parachutes took a new approach to the carriage; built with fixed-wing methods. The Summit II utilizes a long side bar to mount the canopy from four points, leaving it less vulnerable to misloading. Steering method is unique and can suit pilot-specific adjustments (see article). Light among comparable designs; helps performance.
Cons - Some critics of multiple mounts suggest maneuverability is less (though I was not able to detect this). Rollover hoop looks too delicate (though factory personnel say it has proven itself). Canopy wings hardly differentiate on powered parachutes as the same suppliers are mostly used.
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 - Since powered parachutes are simple flying machines they aren't heavy on systems, which is a good thing in my mind. The Summit has a nosewheel brake; lever on yoke. Flight steering pedals are adjustable. Rear seat holds fuel tank. Excellent repair access to all parts of carriage.
Cons - For those who like to manage systems, the Summit will be a disappointment; it's quite simple. Optional electric starting will prove valuable; pull starting from the front seat means a long rope run. Trimming a powered parachute is something you do with lines on the ground and it's important to get it right.
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Individual, and very comfortable, seats are used so the occupants are not touching. Space in both seats is generous. Four-point seat belts. Pedal positions can be rigged for different pilot sizes. Rear seats may have fold-down foot pegs to rest feet. Windscreen available; full enclosure planned.
Cons - Access to the rear seat is more challenging due to the side bars used to attach the canopy. Foot pedal adjustment isn't quick for changing pilots. An aft throttle is optional but necessary for instruction. No cargo storage (though it's unlikely you'll fly a Summit cross-country). Aft instruments only by custom fitting.
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros - Right-way steering, that is, turn right (with the yoke)/go right. Brake fitted to front wheel; hand lever is on yoke. Excellent shock absorption (common on powered parachutes). Engine and airframe weight is well positioned over the gear, an improvement on other powered parachutes I've flown. Good ground clearance for rough field landings.
Cons - Taxi turn rate is rather slow but ground maneuverability isn't a particular need with powered parachutes; they're normally pushed to a takeoff position. Braking power is modest and hand levers don't allow much leverage (though brakes are hardly needed on powered parachutes).
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros - Ground roll is fairly short, 150 feet± helping to confirm a light structure. Sliding steering pedals work smoothly and can be rigged for differing mechanical advantage (see article). Excellent visibility in nearly every direction (a common powered parachute trait).
Cons - Crosswind landings must be set up well or going around can be the best bet (if the engine is performing properly). Canopy wings aren't known for retaining energy; you need to get landings right or go around if possible. Sole approach angle aid is using both foot pedals to slow speeds slightly.
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros - Throttle is arguably the most important control on a powered parachute; Summit's works conventionally to most pilots (lever forward = more power). Sliding steering pedals offer mechanical advantage to make turning and flaring easier. Maneuvering is much more responsive than fixed- wing pilots think.
Cons - Sliding steering pedal actuation is not standard in powered parachutes; may affect resale. Precision turns to headings take practice. Foot pedals take generous physical effort. If your legs aren't up to it, adjustment is possible but response is lessened by relieving pressure (which is why some pilots also pull the steering lines with their hands).
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros - Powered parachutes excel at low-over-the-field flying. Summit claims 6:1 glide out of their top canopies - a good gain over the more common 4:1 for a square canopy. With an elliptical wing, speeds can exceed 40 mph (if that'll be fast enough for you). Summit's innovation of stiffened cells in the canopy reportedly aids inflation efforts.
Cons - Powered parachutes are not for cross-country (though some long flights have been made). Climb seemed rather weak at about 500 fpm from a Rotax 582's 65 hp (probably better with a higher performance canopy). With a square canopy top speed is limited to 30 mph, forcing operations in lower wind conditions.
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros - Secure restraints will keep you in the seats. Dynafocal engine mount reduces vibration. Engine weight is over the axle; better support and more angle allowance before aft frame touches, avoids damage to aft components. No adverse yaw effect (though pendulum swinging can occur with crude throttle movements).
Cons - Though company says the overhead roll bar is robust, it does not look as strong as some other powered parachute brands. Airborne stability in powered parachutes is very good, but elliptical canopies are not for the inexperienced (Summit, like all good builders, steers new pilots to square canopies).
Addresses the questions: "Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?"
Pros - Summit Powered Parachutes is associated with ASAP, long-time builders of the fixed-wing Chinook and Beaver ultralights of Canadian fame. Company used this synergy to make a different product in a field of look-alikes. More aircraft-like construction may appeal to pilots. Design's innovations should help on resale. Dependable company to associate with after purchase.
Cons - If you can, accept a single-seater Summit as a bargain; the Summit II is priced with the crowd (more than $4K more than the single-seater). Summit is still unsure of pursuing LSA certification; will otherwise require an approved kit for 2-seater sales in future. U.S. dealers are widely spaced
As focus sharpens on FAA’s proposed Light-Sport Aircraft regulation, the first aircraft segment to complete an ASTM airworthiness consensus standard is powered parachutes. While these aircraft are simpler, which helped speed the process, participating manufacturers got together well and hammered out their certification rules efficiently. Summit Powered Parachutes of Canada hasn’t yet chosen to enter the Light-Sport Aircraft arena. They aren’t worried, just wary of new regulations. In fact, the company started work under England’s BCAR S regulation. Just recently, Summit was working to qualify for German DHV certification. They see no great challenge passing the proposed U.S. powered parachute standards, as currently defined. Fortunately, the proposed Light-Sport Aircraft is not the only destination in sport aviation. It may be part of the spectrum of aviation regulations. We’re seeing more new designs tuned to Part 103. And the Amateur-Built 51% rule will still allow many 2-seat ultralights to be built and flown as they are today.