A familiar frame, a different name

For some aircraft it’s the (air)frame, not the name that sells it. Such is the case with the Polish-built AT-4, an airframe that was introduced to the American market a few years back as the GOBOSH (which stands for Go Big Or Stay Home) 700.

GOBOSH went out of business in 2009, but the AT-4 has returned to America, marketed by Aero AT-USA at Northampton Airport (7B2) in Northampton, Mass.

The design has not changed significantly from its days as the GOBOSH, notes Aero AT CEO Walter Jankowski.

Pete Merski and and Greg Trzaska with the AT-4

“The pedigree for the AT-4 comes from the AT-3, which is a fully certified airplane,” he said. “The AT-4 is manufactured to meet the Light-Sport Aircraft rule. One thing that makes the AT-4 different from many of the other LSAs on the market is that it is a full metal airplane. Many of the newer aircraft are composite.”

The AT-4 on display at Sun ’n Fun this week arrived in the United States in January.

Although the AT-4 is still pretty new in the states, “We are building momentum,” said Aero AT-USA’s Greg Trzaska. “We just need people to know we are here.”

Like its predecessor, the AT-4 sports winglets. Access to the cockpit is by lifting the bubble canopy and putting a foot on the wing. You won’t find a side-step on the AT-4, said Jankowski, explaining that the side-step was done away with because there had been times when two people stepped on the steps and the airplane pitched up, banging the tail.

Another refinement is the addition of an annunciator light on the canopy. Because the bubble is made of metal and composite and so light, extremes of heat and cold can cause it change shape slightly. When this happens, there is the chance the canopy won’t be completely latched prior to departure, company officials note.

“The light is a safety to let you know if the canopy is not fully latched. Also, the mechanism to open and close the canopy has been redesigned for smoother operation,” Jankowski explains.

Sitting in the cockpit you may feel a little like you’re in a sports car. If you’re vertically impaired you’ll probably want a cushion or two behind your back to be able to reach the pedals.

At the top of the panel on the left is a line of caution and annunciator lights. These lights call the pilot’s attention to necessary information, such as fuel status, engine operating parameters, canopy status and, to the far left, a stall warning light. Beneath the lights are a pair of Garmin 300S screens.

There are two throttles, one far left, the other in the center, so if you’re a pilot who is more comfortable with your right hand on the throttle and left hand on the stick when you’re in the left seat, you’re all set.

Just above the airspeed indicator and altimeter you’ll find an air vent. One of the downsides of the bubble-type canopy is that they tend to get rather warm in the sunnier climates.

Both the flap actuator and the trim wheel are located on a pedestal. For extra safety, there’s a fire extinguisher next to the pilot’s left leg.

Company officials are optimistic that the AT-4’s rugged construction and ramp appeal will attract new owners. According to Aero AT-USA’s Pete Merski, an order placed at the show could be filled in two to three months, “including the shipping time from Poland,” he said, adding that the company also provides support for the GOBOSH owners in the United States who are probably wondering if they have orphaned aircraft.

For more information: AeroAT-USA.com


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