The flying public got its first look at Belite's first licensed E-AB aircraft at the Sun 'n Fun Fly in today. As we reported last week, the Chipper recently received its airworthiness certificate, but has yet to fly, since it was almost immediately disassembled to be trucked to Florida for display. The airplane underwent minimal taxi testing before being taken apart, so it has proven that it can move under its own power.
James Wiebe, founder and owner of BeLite, reported that he is already seeing opportunities for improvement with the tailwheel steering, which is only natural for a clean sheet design. Overall, he is happy with how the prototype, built using techniques and material similar to the companies previous ultralight designs, went together. The aircraft makes extensive use of extremely lightweight electronic instrumentation and servos to drive trim, flaps, and drooping ailerons. Intended to be a STOL airplane, it sports Fowler flaps to help it get off (and on) the ground in short distances.
Powered by an HKS engine rated at 60 hp, Wiebe say that he is more concerned with the low end of the performance envelope than the high, and that it can eventually support larger engines when it is time to explore increased speeds. With side-by-side seating for two, the airplane is much larger than his previous ultralight designs. The plane is constructed of lightweight foam, aluminum, and fabric covering.
The Chipper is on display in the outdoor area in front of Hangar A at the Sun 'n Fun show for those who want to examine it closely.