One of the observations made at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo at Sebring was that the vast majority of Light Sport Aircraft are composite, with white as their base color. In short, it can be a challenge to tell one LSA from another.
If you’re looking for an LSA that stands out on the ramp, you may want to consider the Criquet Storch, a scale replica of the famous German design that’s available as a ready-to-fly Special-LSA.
“It’s a 75% scale replica of the German Fieseler FI-156 Storch,” said Dennis Carley, president of U-Fly-It Light Sport Aircraft LLC, based in Deland, Fla. The Storch, which was making its first appearance at the Sebring show, got its S-LSA certification last April.
A high-wing tandem design with slotted wings, the Storch is known for its extraordinary short takeoff and landing ability. According to performance figures, takeoff distance at sea level is 168 feet, while landing distance is 173 feet.
“People are amazed when they see it. They just stand there with their mouths hanging open,” Carley said with a laugh.
The airplane looks a little like a grasshopper. Wingspan is 34 feet, 7 inches; length from spinner to tailwheel is 24 feet, 5 inches; height is 9 feet, 9 inches. The landing gear is spring steel and there is an option for a lockable tailwheel. The baggage compartment holds 25 lbs., which should be enough to hold headsets and an overnight bag.
The S-LSA version sports a Rotax 912S under the cowling paired with a two-bladed propeller.
The cockpit, which measures 28 inches wide, has the details of the full-scale version, such as the chain-drive for the flaps. The panel has analog instruments in black and white that look as though they were pulled out of a vintage machine.
The Criquet Storch sports two welded aluminum fuel tanks holding 16 gallons each.
“Of that 15 gallons per side is usable,” said Carley. “When it comes to cruise, the Storch is definitely on the low end of the scale. Cruise speed is about 70 mph.”
The endurance of the aircraft is approximately five hours, with a range of 364 miles.
The construction materials are the same as the original Storch: 4130 chrome moly steel with aluminum ribs standard covered with standard aircraft fabric with rib stitching. “The airframe is strong — it was designed for an aircraft heavier than the light sport limit of 1,320 lbs.,” Carley said.
Components for the Criquet Storch come from Colombia, with final assembly done in Deland.
The aircraft on display at Sebring was done up in a paint scheme from the Africa theater circa World War II. “Almost all of them that are flying now have a paint scheme from some theater of World War II,” said Carley.
The S-LSA version of the Criquet Storch sells for $88,000. But if you’re like to build one of your own, that can be arranged.
“There is also an E-LSA version, a kit with an approximately 100 hour build time and a 51% amateur built kit with a 1,000 hour build time,” said Carley. “You can have it however you want it.”
Although it is fairly new on the American circuit, Carley noted the Criquet Storch is flying all over the world, which means there is support for builders, as well as maintenance. “Currently there are three in the United States and a total of 17 flying in the world,” he said.
For more information: UFlyIt.com