Super affordability. Super Wonder. “Super?“ — surely, I exaggerate, right? Hmmm, I don’t think so. Let me explain.
In an age where many Light-Sport Aircraft run $150,000, to well… possibly much more, “affordability” becomes something of a tortured word. What might seem affordable to a pilot that can buy a nearly one million dollar Cirrus SR22 is vastly different from what is affordable to most readers of this website. So, how affordable can Aerolite be to warrant my claiming “super affordability?”
Rob Tuttle, following Aerolite on Facebook, posed a similar question, “How much minus delivery?”
U-Fly-It owner Dennis Carley replied, “The normal price for this aircraft, assembled and ready to fly as it is equipped, is $21,680 without the parachute, $25,065 with the chute.” Airshows can bring even better prices but continue with this story for an even more unbelievable value.
Consider this perspective. Automobile companies, building tens or hundreds of thousands of a single model, have an average U.S. selling price of more than $35,000 in 2019. Yet here is an airplane, being built at a tiny fraction of the quantity of any automobile, selling for as little as half the price of the average new car. I find that amazing — and it appears a sufficient number to keep U-Fly-It active and profitable, so much so that the DeLand, Florida company can’t keep up.
A couple years ago, Dennis revived the idea of a kit Aerolite 103. Prices around $18,000 ready-to-fly may still be more than some people want to pay for an aircraft that is like a boat, motorcycle, or ATV — it’s a machine you have fun with and it needs to fit within your family budget.
Today a kit Aerolite can save even more and the build time won’t be long.
How Long to Build?
At recent Oshkosh events, two “One-Week Wonders” were built using a kit from Zenith with power from Rotax or a Van’s RV-12 with another Rotax 9-series engine. These were amazing efforts as this video describes, but Dennis and his Aerolite thinks they can do it quicker — far quicker. Plus, a deal awaits some lucky buyer.
“We have a ‘super offer’ in conjunction with AirVenture in Oshkosh next month,” announced Dennis in June 2019. “We will be assembling an Aerolite 103 during the show from a Quick Build Kit, and the aircraft is for sale (you can purchase it now, and pick it up at the end of the show or we can deliver it to you on the way back to Florida). If we have not sold it prior to the show, you can buy it at any time while it is being assembled).” Now — get this — a $3,000 Oshkosh discount applies! After he put this on his Facebook page, this “show” airplane will surely sell long before Oshkosh 2019 starts.
Assembly will take place in the Workshop Tent — next to the Red Barn in the Ultralight Area, now known as the Fun Fly Zone — Tuesday through Saturday, during 9-11 AM and 2-4 PM. It will be completed and ready to taxi on Saturday afternoon.
I’ll do the calculation for you. In a mere 20 hours — during “banker’s hours,” some might say — an Aerolite 103 will go from kit to flyable aircraft. Bang! Compare that to the large gang of people who built the Zenith 750 or Van’s RV-12 at Oshkosh (although they were amateurs, not experts).
“The new owner can load it up on Saturday afternoon/evening,” Dennis finished, “or we can deliver it to you. Delivery is free if you are someplace close to our route home (nominal delivery charge if you are not close to our route back to Florida).”
The Oshkosh 2019 Super Wonder Aerolite 103 will be equipped with these options or upgrades:
- Hirth F33 engine
- Electric start
- Lightweight lithium battery
- Culver pProp
- EIS panel
- Hydraulic brakes
- 6-inch wheels and tires
Final selling price: $17,900 (clarifying, that is $3,000 off the standard price of $20,900 for a Ready to Fly model with options listed). See all prices here for Aerolite 103 airframes, engine choices (several), and options.
Is Hirth’s 28-horsepower F33 enough power for bigger pilots, say someone weighing 250 pounds? Dennis answered.
“The F33 is good for Pilots up to about 220 pounds. At 220, the climb rate is about 600 feet per minute, and cruise speed about 55 miles an hour. For 250 pound pilots, we recommend the Hirth F23. We are also testing a couple other engine models currently, both of which should be very viable options for heavier pilots.” In case Hirth’s numbering system may confuse you, F33 is a super light single cylinder engine where F23 is a horizontally opposed twin cylinder model producing 50 horsepower. On this lightweight aircraft, even with a beefier pilot, an F23 Aerolite is going to perform exceedingly well.
Are Aerolite prices enticing for what many consider to be a dandy little airplane? Perhaps the following answer sums it up. When asked by a customer if U-Fly-It has any plans for a two seat model, Dennis’ responded, “We are building so many single seaters that we just don’t have time to make a two-seater. We literally can not build them fast enough.”
I don ‘t know many other companies in all of light aviation that can say that.
Check out our new video of Aerolite 103 in flight.