At airshows or other gatherings, I’m always amazed at how many pilots attend talks on engines like the Rotax 912. For those who thirst for more, here’s the newest DVD from ASA‘s Freedom to Fly video series on the operation and maintenance of a Rotax 912. ASA’s program covers a wide range from checking the oil to reviews of the electrical system or carburetor synchronization to cold weather techniques. Learning the right methods can prolong engine life and reduce maintenance costs. The video production features a talented group composed of ASA’s Sport Pilot expert Paul Hamilton with Phil Lockwood of Lockwood Aviation and Dean Vogel from the Aero Technical Institute. “This DVD is particularly useful to maintenance professionals, pilots, and flight instructors operating Rotax-powered Light-Sport Aircraft,” said Hamilton. He reports the program is the only one of its kind. The DVD, $49.95, runs 68 minutes and includes 17 minutes of bonus features plus a booklet with quick reference checklists.
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Why Not Rotax?
So, Why Not Stick With Rotax?
Why take a chance with any new brand, even if it is a Japanese engine? Why not stick with a familiar brand name?
HPower’s Tom Peghiny relates airshow conversations with a wide range of sport aviators, not only ultralight pilots. He reports: “Not a single person wanted to compare price or weight with the Rotax 582, against which the HKS engine competes. In fact,” he adds, “they overwhelmingly said simply, ‘Thanks!’ for offering an alternative.”
A few good reasons explain why the 700E may represent a better value than the 582. On the face of it, a ready-to-fly 582 will run about $5,400 retail, while the 700E is $6,500 with stainless steel exhaust.
The extra cost comes from the parts count on a 4-stroke engine. More pieces cost more money. And to make these engines last longer, they must be built of components that can endure long operating periods.
Super Drifter XL with Rotax 912
Considered by many to be a workhorse, the Super Drifter XL shows refinement and features that make it seem like a “luxury ultralight.” Leza AirCam, the newly renamed producer of this venerable ultralight, has equipped the top-of-the-line model with nearly every option in their price list. Conclusion: While it will cost you a bundle, you should be satisfied with this ultralight for many years.
How is this Super Drifter XL different from the Super Drifter that I evaluated almost 3 years ago? According to Denny Franklin – yes, that same icon of the Maxair days when the Drifter was a youngster – the XL is a significant redesign of the original Super Drifter 912 flown in 1998.1 It has seen numerous changes to make the veteran design work better with the big 80-hp Rotax 912 situated at the rear of the wing.
What’s New With the Super Drifter XL?
The Super Drifter XL has an extended fuselage – meaning the boom tube and its fuselage “pan” – to position the front seat 5 inches further forward.
Breezer Aircraft and the New Breezer II
Close to Perfect
It usually takes more than one
try to get something right. To
get close to a perfect aircraft
usually takes many iterations, but
Breezer Aircraft has come very close
to producing a wonderful light sport
aircraft with their Breezer II.
We’ve seen the Breezer before when
the U.S. importer brought the thennew
model to AirVenture Oshkosh
’05. I flew it that year and recently
got the chance to fly the Breezer II.
While many of the good qualities
found in the earlier model were
retained, some nice improvements
have been made. But it isn’t the airplane
that is the real story. As experienced
airplane buyers know, it is
often the company behind the airplane
that is the main story.
Breezer’s Brief Design History
The design history is brief because the Breezer
is a new aircraft, not seen before ’05 except during
its early development. That older, original Breezer
was produced under agreement by Comco-Ikarus,
the same folks that make one of Germany’s bestselling
ultralights (a different class than American
ultralights), the C-42.
microlights have paved the way
to a new breed of aircraft for European
fliers. Residents of the European community
don’t have the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft
(SP/LSA) rule, but they know how to build the planes
that serve the market.
Comco-Ikarus is one of Germany’s most
established microlight builders. After a
long and successful run with its C22
and C42 airplanes, the company,
based in Hohentengen in
southwest Germany, is
ready to run in LSA
circles with its
Compared to the C22 and C42,
which is still being sold in Germany and
the United States, the Breezer is clearly
an original design. The Breezer has a
metal wing and tail, whereas the C42
has a fiberglass fuselage and its wings
are constructed of aluminum tubes and
covered with an advanced sewn textile
called GT-Foil, a Kevlar-based material.
The Breezer is a low-wing airplane,
whereas the C42 is a high-wing; the
C42 is strut-braced, while the Breezer
Aero ’23 Day 1 — Superveloce = Superfast… Speed Propels Porto Aviation to Records & Sales
In the last couple years a rivalry erupted among companies in Europe aiming to be the fastest LSA-type aircraft*. I have previously reported on Porto Aviation and its fast-flying ways.
Setting aside the politics of FAI-recognized record flights, no question remains that designer Alberto Porto is determined to create a very fast-flying aircraft. Check this article with more about speed attempts and to see images of a fixed-gear version called Siren.
Gear up with an adjustable prop and flown at common cruise altitudes, it’s clear that Superveloce lives up to its name.
What could the typical pilot expect while flying Superveloce? Porto Aviation lists the cruise speed at 75% power from Rotax’s 915iS at 200 knots true airspeed at 9,000 feet. Compared to other LSA I have examined, this tops the list (although some other fast designs aren’t too far behind).
Porto Aviation, previously quartered in Switzerland, is now a bit further south in Italy.
Aero Friedrichshafen Prepares to Open — Preview as Europe’s Top Show Takes Shape
Aero is open! Yesterday, after flying across the Atlantic and despite starting to run low on energy and affected by the time zone change, a small group of us eagerly took a walk through Aero’s cavernous 12 halls to get a early peek.
As I’ve observed many times, the night before, mere hours ahead of the show opening, the exhibits look chaotic. With packing boxes and parts strewn everywhere it seems impossible vendors can be ready in time. Aside from a few well-heeled organizations — those larger businesses that can pay outsiders to set up their exhibits ahead of time — most companies were scrambling furiously to be ready by opening day… which is now today.
Yet it always works, magically perhaps. Once again, late hours turned into a show by Wednesday the 19th, opening day. The show runs through Saturday the 22d. If you’re in Europe, I hope you’re coming.
George Jetson Flying Machine — Now a Reality and a Qualifying Part 103 Ultralight?
Air taxis — eVTOLs — UAVs — UASs — UAMs. I like “multicopters,” but the name game continues.
Maybe these new-fangled flying contraptions have numerous (indecipherable) names because they’re still deciding which way they’re headed?
I believe aircraft like these are nearly inevitable and I not only don’t resist, I’m rather enthusiastic about them. I’d love to get picked up from my driveway and whisked by air to an appointment across town in minutes, free of clogged roads. C’mon, UberAir!
However, that dream may be years in the future. Oh, the technology is nearly ready now. It hasn’t been proven to be in-the-field robust yet but engineers know today most of what they need to make air taxis viable. Their much bigger challenge? Gaining public acceptance and winning regulatory approval. That could take a long time. Meanwhile…
What’s Here TODAY?!
Air taxis may be fuzzy in the distance but another class of these machines is nearly ready for market.
“Ultra Petrel?” How Do You Make Super Petrel Even Better? Add Power And Call It “XP”
I have followed Super Petrel since before it went to Brazil* more than 20 years ago. I mention this to make two points.
Super Petrel has a long history; some 400 are flying around the world. In addition, the current producer, Scoda Aeronautica, has continually made changes to the design. The video below identifies some of this history.
What’s new for 2023 is the Super Petrel XP and it’s boost to big Rotax power, the 915iS fuel injected, turbocharged, intercooled engine that seems to be steadily supplanting all prior models.
Smoother & More Powerful
Super Petrel XP
“Eight years ago, Rodrigo Scoda and his team of engineers at Scoda Aeronautica began a secret project to redesign the aircraft from the wheels up,” started the update explanation by Roger Helton president of Super Petrel USA. “About one year into the project, they and other OEM aircraft manufactures were invited by Rotax to attend a meeting and were informed of the new 915iS engine.”
The timing was perfect as Rodrigo has always said, “You begin with the engine and build the aircraft around it.”
Besides the more potent engine, Scoda engineers have been busy.
Come Back… Cleanly! MySky Returns with Plans to Make Flying Friendlier
Once upon a time, I was able to report three or more new Special Light-Sport Aircraft every month. That was more than a decade back when the pace of new arrivals seemed faster than a rocket parachute deployment. Lots of airplane developers from all over the globe wanted a piece of this promising LSA action with its greater freedoms and breathtaking pace of innovation. New models were announced with regularity.
For the past few years that torrid pace slowed… just as it has in every other industry I’ve examined. However, in aviation it is uncommon for a good airplane to actually disappear forever. Designs worth their avgas often manage a come-back, a term meant to show a return to market for a flying machine some may have written off earlier.
Here is such a story.
From the day I laid eyes on it, I liked the tandem seating, comfortable cockpit, and sturdy construction of MySky’s MS-1 or MS-One.
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