The Lightning LS-1 is a variant of the Arion Aircraft Lightning that has been sold as an experimental amateur built kit since June 2006. There are 40 flying in the USA, Brazil and Australia, with an equal number under construction in the USA, Australia, and Russia, according to company officials.
Arion Aircraft officials said they embarked on a rigorous testing program to find ways to slow down the Lightning to LSA standards. Extra wing area was added to bring wing loading and stall speeds into compliance. The end result is an aircraft that cruises at the LSA maximum of 120 knots on about 5 gallons per hour. The LS-1 is powered by the 120-hp Jabiru 3300 engine.
With the exception of the Australian Jabiru engine, all components of the LS-1 are manufactured in the USA. Vacuum infusion, RTM molding techniques and other advanced composite techniques are utilized to create a sturdy airplane while keeping the weight down, explained Pete Krotje, Arion’s chief manager.
“RTM allows us to make a very consistent part with very little variation in weight and strength from part to part,” he explained.
The Lightning LS-1 will debut tomorrow at Sun ‘n Fun in the LSA Mall. Base price for 2009 production is $93,900, with well-equipped models under $110,000.
For more information: FlyLightning.net.