First flight: Belite Sealite

WICHITA — On the 110th anniversary of the Wright brother’s first powered flight, Belite completed the successful first test flight of its new aircraft, the Belite SeaLite.

The SeaLite is an amphibious, carbon fiber float-equipped aircraft, designed to legally fly under U.S. FAR 103 regulations off of either water or land.

Although the first test flight was from a conventional grass runway, the expanded test plan will soon demonstrate takeoff and landing operations from water as well, company officials noted.

The aircraft is a design variation of Belite’s UltraCub aircraft. With almost every part designed in Wichita, the aircraft “incorporates a large number of technically advanced features that allow it to fly with an empty weight under the FAR 103 prescribed maximum airframe weight of 338 pounds,” company officials said.

James Wiebe, CEO of Belite Aircraft, was at the controls for the first flight. “I was pleased with this test flight; it demonstrated the performance and utility possible with a single place amphibious aircraft,” he said. “The ground roll was very short, the climb rate was impressive, and the landing manners were easy and benign.”

The spars in the wing are constructed from carbon fiber, as are the floats and certain other key elements of the aircraft, he said. The fuselage is constructed largely from aerospace aluminum. Each basic wing panel weighs only 20 pounds; each individual carbon fiber float also weighs about 20 pounds.

The SeaLite also features a custom instrument panel with a full range of conventional instruments. The SeaLite was developed in direct response to customer request and will be delivered to an individual in the upper Midwest early next year, Wiebe reported.

In amphibious configuration, the new aircraft is priced at $60,000. In straight (water only) configuration, it is priced at $50,000. Other non-aquatic versions of Belite UltraCubs have starting prices under $20,000.

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  1. Olphard says

    “On the 110th anniversary of the Wright brother’s first powered flight,”

    Perhaps you’re referring to just one of the two, not both, else it would be “brothers”, without the apostrophe. C’mon, you’re old enough to know better than that, aren’t you? I’m an adult, reading about an adult subject, and I expect adult writers that don’t write like adolescents. Yes, we see these things.

  2. Joseph Greulich says

    Have you thought about a way to fully retract the landing gear wheel or didn’t I notice it fully retracted …. beacuse it will cause problems extended any at all .

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