“Now, wait a minute,” I hear some object! “You can’t do aerobatics in a Light-Sport Aircraft. It’s not allowed.” Are you sure about that?
True, most LSA are not recommended for aerobatic flying or training. However, one of the main reasons for that is that Rotax does not want their LSA 9-series engines used for aerobatics. If the engine manufacturer does not permit that, we’re done talking. It cannot be used that way. The airframe maker can also stipulate no such operations.
However, neither FAA regulations nor ASTM standards expressly prohibit aerobatics. We’ve already seen one entry that is capable of aerobatics — the FK-12 Comet biplane — but when that model uses a Rotax powerplant, going upside down on purpose is not permitted.
Has Magnus got a valid reason for pursuing aerobatics? Are they trying to invite owners to fly this way? A better rationale: With a capable aircraft, a qualified instructor can offer what some call “Upset Recovery Training.” Others may say “unusual attitude training,” but the purpose is to prepare pilots who may find themselves in unfamiliar — “upset” … “unusual” — situations, so they know how to exit that condition.
Engines and Loops
Rotax isn’t simply protecting their brand (though they are certainly doing that, too). To promote this activity without adequate preparation is folly. Rotax has no way to control how their engines are used. The have no control over the pilots flying aircraft powered by Rotax. Plus the Austrian market leader has not built an engine that keeps running while inverted.
Instead, Magnus will use a ULPower engine. The latter has anticipated this use and the Belgian company recently declared that it meets all ASTM standards applicable to aircraft engines (specifically the F2339-19A standard for reciprocating spark engines for Light-Sport Aircraft).
Welcome to ULPower (see video below) and congratulations to Magnus for using this engine to further their idea of Fusion 212 being used for upset recovery training. The Hungarian company made it official as did ULPower.
“Magnus Aircraft is proud to announce its Fusion 212 airplane is approved for intentional spin. Starting now (April 2022), complete stall and spin awareness training, which is required for all CFIs as per FAR 61.183, can be [done] on the Fusion 212,” wrote László Boros, CEO of Magnus.
U.S. representative, Doma Adreka added, “I am pleased to inform you about the spin test results of the Fusion airplane. Since April 4, 2022, all Fusions are approved for intentional spins, and with an ASTM-compliant ULPower 350iS engine, approved for upset recovery and basic aerobatics (+6/-3Gs). With these capabilities the Fusion is the first Special LSA approved for all of these maneuvers and advanced training.”
“UL Power confirmed their ASTM declaration stating that the 350 and 520 engines are ASTM-compliant and can be used on SLSA,” Doma added.
Officially, ULPower Aero Engines NV, declared on March 1, 2022 their engine models are being produced in accordance with ASTM standards for reciprocating spark engines for Light-Sport Aircraft. This covers their UL350i with dual electronic control units and includes variations identified as their UL350iS and UL350iHPS (the latter for rotary aircraft). In addition several models of the UL 520 engine are covered under their declaration meeting ASTM standards.
ULPower’s 350 series relies on four cylinders to produce between 118 and 130 horsepower while the 520 series has six cylinders producing between 180 and 220 horsepower.
Fusion Spin Training
Magnus in Hungary also made it official.
“Magnus successfully completed the comprehensive intentional spin and recovery test series,” Doma elaborated, “so the Fusion 212 airplane is approved for upset recovery training (UPRT), intentional spin and basic aerobatics (+6/-3Gs), which is extremely important for flight safety. Fusion 212 is the first and only available Light Sport Aircraft for these maneuvers.” (Note that Tecnam acquired the single-seat Snap in 2013 for pilots who want to perform aerobatics, but that model never declared meeting ASTM standards.)
Doma continued, “According to the FAA recommendations, we tested the behavior of the aircraft in nearly 250 situations of stall and spin maneuvers with full recovery of the aircraft. We tested the Fusion 212 in extreme center of gravity situations, with different throttle and flaps settings. During the tests we went to the edges by intentionally making ‘mistakes’ in the maneuvers and delaying recoveries.”
“From now on — including all Fusion 212 aircraft that have already been sold — Fusion 212’s Airplane Flight Manual officially includes the approval for performing intentional spin and recovery maneuvers,” Doma clarified.
“Fusion 212 provides low operating costs ($50/hour) to training organizations and private owners. Fusion 212 is well known for its high structural load capacity and strength allowing maneuvers that expand the regular flight envelope.” I quickly and willingly add that my two flights in Fusion have shown it to be an extremely solid feeling aircraft (video review).
“Upset recovery training has become widespread in pilot education in order to help pilots to overcome unusual situations,” said Doma. “With our Fusion 212 aircraft, pilots can master their skills and learn techniques to handle such dangerous situations safely.”
Manufacturer Magnus Aircraft and The Aviator Family, distributor of the Fusion 212 airplanes in America, will start a special training program for upset recovery, spin and basic aerobatic training besides initial and advanced pilot education in DeLand, FL (KDED) soon. Of course, they also plan more conventional training.
“Built to achieve all of your flying goals, Fusion 212 is a great training platform for Sport and Private Pilots. It is capable of carrying you through your Instrument, Commercial, CFI, CFII ratings, and TAA time building for ATP.”
One final word: “Fusion 212 provides the peace of mind that comes with having an onboard parachute,” finished Doma.
About Doma and
The Aviator Family
Before Doma hooked up with Magnus, he was Chief of Protocol for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Hungary and later worked with the International Sport Federation in Europe. He said he has worked with Presidents, Prime Ministers, and many more politicians and diplomats.
However, he fell in love with aviation while working for Magnus in Europe and later in the USA, first residing in Texas though he and his family have now relocated to Florida. Doma earned his pilot license in 2020 and is working towards his instructor ticket.
Today, he lives with is wife, Vicky and daughter, Lili Anna, in the Spruce Creek Fly-In community near Daytona Beach. “After almost five years in Texas we moved to Florida in 2021. We absolutely adore living here!”
With that kind of youth and enthusiasm, I expect we’ll see Doma and Fusion at an airshow near you.
Here is a rare perspective on a Light-Sport Aircraft doing a multi-turn spin. This offers great views of the maneuver and you see how well Magnus Fusion handles it.
Here is my interview of Magnus Aircraft’s U.S. importer, Doma Andreka at the 2021 Midwest LSA Expo. In this we discusss the aerobatic capability of Fusion among many other points.
And, here is my interview with the U.S. representative for ULPower, Robert Helms, shot at Sun ‘n Fun 2021. At this time he gave us info about ULPower’s project to declare compliance to ASTM standards.
Andy Foster says
Not referring to any legal actions, but I am referring to some FAA legal opinions. I wish this was settled, but it’s not; and your statement shows that. Insurance has nothing to do with the point I was making, i.e., that Rotax cannot determine the uses you put your aircraft to, only the aircraft manufacturer can. Over the years, Rotax has and continues to make statements about what can and cannot be done that simply don’t hold up under FAA rules.
Correct, Rotax cannot determine the uses you put your aircraft to and, they make no attempt to do so.
They do however determine the uses you put one of their engines to.
Andy Foster says
Can you show me the regulatory basis (i.e., FAR’s) for your statement?
Schmalz Joseph says
Thanks Dan, good work.
Andy Foster says
I’d love to know what your regulatory basis is for stating that any engine manufacturer can regulate what you do with your airplane, even for LSA’s. There are already plenty of myths about Rotax’s authority, even though some of what Rotax has tried to do has been thrown out by FAA legal. Only the aircraft manufacturer and/or the FAA can legally determine whether a maneuver or operational use of the airplane is permitted.
Dan Johnson says
I am aware of some legal actions, which you may be referencing, and I believe that matter was settled. I do not believe that settlement reflected a proper interpretation of the regulation but instead became a legal expedient. However, whatever the regulation says and whatever the outcome of any legal action, an airplane owner buying insurance must grapple with any prohibitions placed on an aircraft by the airframe manufacturer or the engine maker.
Robert Davis says
What a BEAUTIFUL Plane!! WOW JUST WOW!! I was lucky enough to see this very plane here in Nevada where I live and I feel very lucky to have been able to see it up close and personal. Thanks so much Doma! Also, Doma is one really nice person and I look forward to having a lasting relationship with him. Thank you so much Doma for stopping by!