WICHITA — Belite Aircraft has introduced its first two-place experimental aircraft design, the Pipper.
“I wanted to take my wife flying in a Belite aircraft,” explains James Wiebe, the CEO of Belite, “and implement my years of learning about what it takes to make a light plane quick to build, strong and affordable for the owner. I set my sights on developing an aircraft that comes with a high level of accuracy in parts production, and good repeatability in the build process. The more I aimed for, the more I realized that my many years of building planes had given me the perfect pipper to set my sights with… so the plane was called the Pipper.”
A Pipper is defined as the center or bead of a ring gunsight, he explained.
According to Wiebe, the aircraft had the following design goals:
- Conventional aerodynamic design;
- Side by side seating;
- Quick build time;
- Classic look and fun to fly;
- Good short field performance;
- Rugged landing gear;
- Taildragger or tricycle gear configuration;
- Primary structure of aluminum with lightweight honeycomb;
- 380 pound empty weight (with 2 stroke engine and normal instrumentation);
- 430 pound empty weight (with 4 stroke engine);
- 850 pound gross weight;
- Up to 65-hp engine.
With the exception of engine, FWF, instruments and fuel tanks, everything is included in the airframe kit plus completion kit, he noted. The builder gets to pick tailwheel or tricycle gear. Wing tanks are available for $900 (set of two, five gallons each). Subassemblies are also available.
“I think that the future of experimental aircraft will feature CAD technologies and production technologies which did not exist until recently,” Wiebe said. “Production techniques which are labor intensive add cost and time to aircraft projects. Our vision was to provide a complete kit which can easily be built by an individual in their garage, without special tools, and with state of the art strength and build methodologies.”
First flight is scheduled for March.
Introductory pricing on subassemblies for the airframe kit includes:
- Rudder: $500,
- Horizontal feathers: $700,
- Rear fuselage: $2,100,
- Cabin: $2,900,
- Wings: $3,800.
- Or they can be purchased all together for $8,995, a savings of $1,005.
- Completion Options: Taildragger: $2,295; Tricycle: $2,595.
A limited number of aircraft will be released at launch price. They can be reserved with a $500 refundable deposit and gain access to the CAD files.
In the U.S., the aircraft is available directly from Belite Aircraft. In the UK, it is available in a special single seat configuration, meeting all requirements of the SSDR (Single Seat DeRegulated) market, from Belite’s distributor, Metal Seagulls. Metal Seagulls is handling all European sales as well.
Belite is seeking a distributor for Canada, China and for Central/South America.
The technology behind the new design is also available for licensing to interested parties, Wiebe said.