Six hours in a Cirrus

SR22T Platinum 01

I’d like to think I pondered the offer of a ride in a new Cirrus to Idaho Falls and back to Seattle for more than a few seconds, but in reality, I don’t think Cirrus Aircraft Sales Rep Ivy McIver actually finished her offer before I replied… “YES!”

Ivy grinned and said, “My Mom is flying in from Florida and will be coming as well, so as long as you don’t mind flying with my Mom, we are good to go.” “Are you kidding? I have a Mom…I love Moms.”

And with that I just weaseled my way out of a 12-plus hour car ride, and into a 2012 Cirrus SR22T, for my trip to the Trade Show Aviation Idaho.

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From Kiev with love: Flying the Aeroprakt LSA

24-7765_over_Philip_Island

BY J. DOUGLAS HINTON

With the meltdown of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine gained its independence, causing private enterprise to bloom, including Kiev-based Aeroprakt company, founded the same year and bolstered by an investment by Saudi Sheik Hussein. The result was several Light-Sport Aircraft, principally the Aeroprakt A22-LS.

Designed by Yuri Yakovlev, the LSA has become so popular around the world that it is currently the only model on Aeroprakt’s production line.

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Flying the G8 Airvan

Cabin From Front

By J. DOUGLAS HINTON

A casual glance at a map of Australia shows that virtually all of the population centers are concentrated along the coast, mostly in the south and southeast. So what’s in the interior? Thousands of square miles of desert, sparsely settled by cattle ranchers and miners, people in need of supplies and medical care.

Recognizing a need for air support, GippsAero developed and certified the G8 Airvan a few years ago. It also produces the GA200C agricultural aircraft and is reviving the Nomad twin turboprop as an 18-place commuter. The company’s plans were accelerated in 2009 when it was acquired by the Mahindra Group, an India-based company involved in everything from construction to finance and insurance. [Read more…]

Flying the Evektor Harmony

Evektor

The Light-Sport Aircraft movement is coming of age. During the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo held in Sebring, Florida, last month, many LSA manufacturers showed off the next generation of their designs, including Evektor Aircraft.

The Czech Republic-based company, which has the distinction of producing the first LSA certified in the U.S., showcased the Evektor Harmony at the Sebring show. Like its predecessor the popular Evektor SportStar, the Harmony is a low-wing metal design. Although there is a familial resemblance in the design, it’s obvious the engineers at the Evektor factory have been working to improve a good thing. The Harmony has a more refined, elegant look to it.

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Flying the Skycatcher: The CFI’s perspective

Cessna’s Skycatcher was designed for the Light Sport Aircraft category, as well as to lower the cost of entry into aviation. It was also designed to be a teaching platform that could ostensibly replace the Cessna 150 series in flight schools.

I have more than 300 hours in Cessna 150-series aircraft, of which a little over 100 hours was spent in the right seat as a CFI. Although I do most pilot report flights from the left seat, I decided to fly the Skycatcher from the right to evaluate its potential as a training aircraft.

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Flying the Kitfox LSA

2V2E6472_6764 (Small)

One of the benefits of the Light Sport Aircraft movement is that it has paved the way for manufacturers of kit aircraft to enter the world of ready-to-fly designs. One of the more recent entries into the fly-away models is the Kitfox S-LSA from Kitfox Aircraft LCC of Homedale, Idaho. It’s designed to appeal to pilots who want something in a sporty high wing, as well as the training market.

The Kitfox S-LSA traces its lineage back more than 25 years to the experimental Kitfoxes. The family resemblance is undeniable, but like most aircraft, the engineering has been refined and improved upon with every incarnation. The company also changed ownership over the years. Today it is owned by John and Debra McBean, who are more than happy to tell you anything you want to know about the LSA or the factory at Homedale Municipal Airport (S66).

The Kitfox LSA looks like…a Kitfox. It has the familiar foldable high wings, gull-wing doors and tricycle gear. Under the cowl is a Rotax 912S, which is pretty much the industry standard when it comes to LSAs.

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Pilot’s Report: Piper Matrix

MatrixHi-ResJPEG--aerialCover_IMG_8678

MatrixHi-ResJPEG--aerialCover_IMG_8678

BY J. DOUGLAS HINTON, For General Aviation News

What company would build a single-engine, cabin class, unpressurized aircraft when virtually every other airframe in its class is pressurized?

Piper Aircraft would, based on extensive interviews with customers and a “comprehensive market research study second to none,” according to Kevin Gould, president and CEO.

“We talked with thousands of people, from existing and prospective customers to dealers, suppliers and pilots,” he said. “As a result, the market niche that the Matrix fills is one that people identified as a vital, unfulfilled segment in general aviation.”

So in late 2007 the Piper Matrix was developed, certified and offered to the public with an initial 100 orders placed by excited buyers, selling out production for the next few years. So far, 139 have been delivered.

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Flying the Peregrine

Peregrine 2

Peregrine 2

One of the perks of being a flying journalist is that it gives me the opportunity to fly aircraft that many pilots don’t, like the record-setting Light Sport Aircraft, the FA-04 Peregrine.

The low-wing airplane, built by Fleming Air in Germany, is imported by the Hansen Air Group of Kennesaw, Georgia.

“We came up with the name Peregrine,” said Mike Hansen, vice president of operations and my copilot for the flight. “We had to come up with an American name since the German name is almost unpronounceable for most Americans.”

A family member came up with the idea of calling it the Peregrine because the Peregrine falcon is a long-range, fast bird — and both those characteristics describe the airplane, Hansen said.

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Flying a Legend

Legend

Legend

When Legend Aircraft Co. unveiled plans to produce a modern version of the Cub, I admit I was skeptical. Usually, when you try to remake a classic, it falls short of expectations.

The Legend Cub, manufactured in Sulphur Springs, Texas, manages to avoid the “remake” curse because, frankly, it is not a remake of the Piper model. It is a refinement.

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