A New Spin on Plane Power

While this M-Squared ultralight may not look like a Mazda RX-8 sports car, its powerplant does share the same rotary-engine technology, with a single-rotor mill that made five big guys strain to hold it back during a runup test in Paradise City. So power, apparently, isn't lacking.

Better still, M-Squared boss Paul Mather (second from left) tells us he's shooting for an engine-and-all price for this machine in the $15,000 range.

For more information, visit M-Squared.

Cub Reporter Mandy Wainfan on Sun 'n Fun

Imagine seeing an airshow from the eyes of a nine-year old.

Mandy Wainfan has been taking photos for, oh, 4 months now and has been tromping around Sun 'n Fun shooting whatever pictures her battery life will support.

"I've been on a DC-3 before. My mother was the pilot and I thought it was really cool to hear about it so I took this picture," she reports.

Mandy wasn't alive when this plane was built, but she wasn't alive when she flew on a DC-3 either. Mandy, my daughter, was in my tummy when she first flew on a DC-3. I was taking an hour of dual instruction, a present from my husband, Barnaby.

And while most pilots and photographers are focused on the aluminum, it sometimes takes a fourth-grader to notice the flowers where the adults see the mud.

If you're at Sun 'n Fun, watch out; your picture might be taken by KITPLANES' youngest "Cub" reporter.

Posted for Lynne Wainfan from Sun 'n Fun, on glorious Friday morning.

InDUS Aviation Announces Diesel LSA

The folks at InDUS Aviation, manufacturers of the Thorpedo Light Sport Aircraft and kit have done it again. The Thorpedo was the first new LSA on the market several years ago, and today the company is proud to show off a Thorpedo that sips Jet A. Yes, you read that right. This LSA has a Wilksch WAM diesel engine under the cowling.

The engine, a 120 hp, 3-cylinder, two-stroke, turbocharged inverted Diesel has all mechanical linkage and is the only ASTM compression ignition compliant engine available. It has a mechanical control unit and automotive glow plugs. Cruise fuel flow is 3 gph, which gives the Thorpedo a 500-mile range at 100 knots.

The engine, designed to produce 120 horsepower, was originally conceived to be a direct replacement for the Continental O-200 engine. It weighs 269 lbs, including fluids and prop. The cowling of the Thorpedo was recently tweaked for efficiency and cooling by none other than the speed experts at the LoPresti “skunkworks” in Vero Beach, Florida, and will undergo additional mods to eke out a few more knots with the WAM engine.

"We've tested this engine for 4 years and more than 400 hours in England," explained InDUS Aviation founder Dr. Ram Pattisapu. "This airplane is designed to be green, and also to address the need for LSA aircraft around the world. Outside of the U.S. we don't have the luxury of easily available and affordable avgas. A strong, light Diesel engine is the answer there," he says.

Say "Hello" to the Xenon Gyroplane...

KITPLANES' own Amy Laboda took up the opportunity to fly something new in rotorcraft and put to use her gyro rating with a turn in the new Xenon gyroplane during a visit to Sun 'n Fun's Chopper Town Friday evening. And from hearing her assessment after the 30-minute demo, we figure she liked it. And designer Rafael Calier shows off his pride in his work by signing the fuselage of his Rotax-powered creation—something he says he does with everything he designs. OEMs take note. "Signature" experimental aircraft might just have a place in the community, we think.

Thunderbirds Roar at Sun 'n Fun

You want an airshow? You got an airshow. When the skydivers drop in and Old Glory unfurls, you know it's showtime as people gravitate away from buildings and exhibits and head for the flight line.

Despite the shift in attention, though, people still periodically drift back to the products and planes between favorite acts.
But few things stop a crowd more than the roar of military jets performing, and Thursday's rehearsal of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds did exactly that—stopped crowds in their tracks as people craned their necks and scanned all four compass points to catch the F-16s no matter which direction they roared in from.

The Thursday performance was only a practice session in preparation for the full shows coming later at Sun 'n Fun.