Avid Aircraft has never indicated a lot of interest, sticking to their popular 2-place models and moving more in the direction of features like a Lycoming (general aviation) engine rather than downsizing.
|Empty weight||284 pounds|
|Gross weight||560 pounds|
|Wingspan||26 feet 9.5 inches|
|Wing area||114.5 sq ft|
|Wing loading||4.9 lbs/sq ft|
|Length||17 feet 7 inches (18 ft 9 in wings folded)|
|Fuel Capacity||5 gallons|
|Build time||200 hours|
|Standard engine||Rotax 447|
|Power loading||14.0 pounds/hp|
|Cruise speed||63 mph|
|Never exceed speed||80 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||700 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||75 feet|
|Landing distance at gross||100 feet|
|Standard Features||Folding wings (3 minutes), towable on its own wheels, steerable tailwheel, four-point safety harness, Lexan® windshield, instrument panel, adjustable seat, 5-inch main wheels with tubeless tires, 5-gallon wing tank with quick drain, Piper Cub-type main gear shock absorber, engine mount and universal engine adapter plate.|
|Options||Various engines, mechanical or hydraulic brakes, cowling, seat cushions, 2-blade wood or composite prop, Lexan skylight, Lexan/fabric split doors, engine gauges (CHT, EGT), ballistic emergency parachute, quick-build wings, powder coating, fully-assembled option.|
|Construction||Factory-welded 4130 chromoly steel tubing fuselage, prebuilt birch plywood ribs, predrilled die-drawn aluminum wing spars, doped Dacron® fabric covering.|
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros – The Champion has joined the Sky Raider and Kitfox Lite as a single-seater of similar design, but Avid Aircraft did it their way and the Champion is a fine ultralight. Fits the “Piper Cub” appeal well. Powerful and responsive, the Champion’s mission can satisfy experienced ultralighters. Stout welded steel under painted fabric assures a long life. Can make Part 103 (with smaller engine).
Cons – The Champion has joined the Sky Raider and Kitfox Lite as a single-seater of similar design, but Avid Aircraft did it their way and the Champion is a fine ultralight. Fits the “Piper Cub” appeal well. Powerful and responsive, the Champion’s mission can satisfy experienced ultralighters. Stout welded steel under painted fabric assures a long life. Can make Part 103 (with smaller engine).
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 – The Champion is ultrasimple, as it should be. Few systems will distract you. Actually, there are none in flight and on the ground only the folding wing system needs attention to special detail. Pull starter worked effectively from seat.
Cons – No brakes, no flaps, no trim, no electric starter, no radio – if you have to have systems and you’re trying to fit under Part 103, this isn’t your plane. Pull starter might be challenging to find and operate during in-flight engine loss. Cowl must be removed for engine work.
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros – Throttle mount was awkward but buyers can choose alternative places in the cockpit, so a negative becomes positive. Seat had thick padding and can adjust slightly for comfort. Comes with four-point harnesses. Very roomy and open cockpit with wonderful visibility. Entry is very good with little obstruction. Adequate instrument panel space.
Cons – Seat lacks lumbar curvature; long flights may be tiring for some pilots. Quite open cockpit may be delightful in summer but too cold for winter use in many American locations. Lack of more side area may disturb some pilots (it’s way open out to the side).
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros – Fully suspended main gear and large tires give a lot of absorption. Very responsive steerable tailwheel. Tailwheel has 360° swivel. Overhead skylight and open aft cockpit helps ability to check for traffic before takeoff.
Cons – No brakes meant long landing roll-outs before I could turn off; also required planning ahead in taxi mode. Brakes might be handy in crowded conditions but the Champion can’t make Part 103 weight limit with them. With no brakes, I was ready to hit the kill switch, but it was a far enough reach that I had to loosen my right shoulder belt.
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros – Authoritative takeoff with Rotax 447 power. Wide open vision is excellent except forward when climbing at very steep angles. Terrific aft visibility. Good slip results thanks to powerful controls which also make crosswind operations more reasonable. Short roll-out and strong climb with Rotax 447. Excellent suspension.
Cons – Taildraggers aren’t for everyone; ground loop potential is present, of course. No flaps to aid approach path control. Slipping is somewhat less potent than on aircraft with more side fuselage and doors. According to the factory, you’ll need 26 to 35 horsepower minimum to get decent climbs.
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros – Splendid handling, if you like it light. Roll rate was approximately 1.5 seconds in 45°-to-45° tests; faster than all but a few ultralights. Controls offered feedback and remained effective to a very low speed. Dutch roll coordination exercise went well right away.
Cons – Handling may be too light and responsive for some ultralight pilots. No trim made longitudinal stability checks ineffective. Adverse yaw was significant.
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros – A little hot rod ultralight; this is a great move-up choice for ultralighters who have experience. The Rotax 447 gave strong climbs and solid cruises, although it can’t be selected if you want to remain under Part 103. Enjoyable low-level flyer with good energy retention and powerful controls.
Cons – Speeds don’t remain within Part 103 limits using the Rotax 447 (brochure says 63 mph at 75% power with the 447). Factory has done no work with alternative engines yet, although they plan to do so before the end of the year. Without cowl, speed performance will suffer.
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros – Very straightforward stall characteristics; wing broke cleanly but not suddenly. Throttle response was normal: nose-up on power-up and vice versa. Steep turns were a joy, so cooperative is the Champion’s handling plus wing performance. Sturdy seat belts (Hooker brand) were appreciated.
Cons – Significant adverse yaw (a by-product of very responsive ailerons). Some overbanking tendency; aggressive banking could turn into a spiral.
Addresses the questions: “Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?”
Pros – Avid Aircraft brings a famous and respected name to the ultralight community. Simple execution with terrific performance/handling package. Clean wing-fold design allows little cost to store; can transport short distances on its main gear. Based on Avid manuals reviewed earlier, assembly instructions should be very good. Open cockpit differentiates the Champion from either the Sky Raider or the Kitfox Lite.
Cons – Pilots looking for “something different” won’t find it here (though that’s precisely why others will like the Champion).
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