Last year the Hansen Air Group of Kennesaw, Ga., captured the attention of both the Light-Sport and aerobatics communities with the introduction of an aerobatics capable LSA.
In January the Hansens made arrangements to import the sporty two-place biplane from Germany. Even without the wings on it, the Fk Comet attracted a lot of attention first at the U.S. Sport Aviation LSA Expo in Sebring, Fla., and later that spring at Sun ‘n Fun. The one stumbling point, according to Mike Hansen, Chief Operation Officer of Hansen Air Group, was an ASTM-compliant engine for aerobatics.
Just last month Hansen Air Group partnered with Renegade Light Sport to put a certified Lycoming engine capable of aerobatics in the imported Fk Comet.
According to Christopher “Doc” Bailey, owner of of Renegade Light Sport in Lees Summit, Missouri, he is working with Lycoming to develop the Aerobatic AEIO 233.
Bailey says many pilots have been reluctant to embrace LSAs because they aren’t familiar with the Rotax engine. “They are used to flying behind Lycoming and Continentals,” he said. “They tell me that they’re just not comfortable behind a squirrel on steroids.”
There will be two versions of the engine: One designed for aerobatics, the other for the pilot who wants something more familiar than a Rotax pulling him or her through the sky.
According to Bailey, the engine craftsmen at Renegade Light Sport are testing and refining the Lycomings for use in an LSA.
“Lycoming sends us the pieces and parts and components and we do all the flight testing and secondary engineering,” he said. “When you put a new engine in airplane there are quirks here and there, and you have to address those.”
The aerobatic engine will be fuel injected and have an inverted sump. It will be capable of pulling nine positive Gs and three negative Gs, he said, noting the company is in the process of testing engine and propeller combinations now.
According to Jon Hansen, CEO, the first two Comets are slated to be in the United States by December.
“They are going to Renegade and Doc will put the Lycomings on them,” he said.
In addition to helping develop the engine, Bailey has added the Fk Comet to his stable of LSA for distributorship.
Price will be about $130,000 for the non-acro engine and about $135,000 for the full acro engine.