Thanks to the efforts of Glenn Pew and our sister publication AVweb, we have a nice video interview with Dick VanGrunsven on the RV-12's debut at Sun 'n Fun. Check it out here, and pay no attention to the editor smacking his gum. (Sheesh.)
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.
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.
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.
Sporty’s Pilot Shop is known for its innovation in flight instruction materials. But it’s common knowledge that earning your pilot certificate is simply a license to learn what you really need to know about aviation so you can safely navigate today’s skies.
To help you along that airway, Sporty’s has introduced the "Learning Beyond the License" series of downloadable videos meant to help pilots stay proficient and learn about new technologies. The series begins with programs on WAAS approaches for either the Garmin 430W or the G1000. Each can be downloaded from Sporty's for $9.95 each. This series joins the Sporty’s Air Facts series, which enhances pilot knowledge on dozens of subjects and can be downloaded for viewing on computers, iPods and even iPhones.
Before flight, pilots get their morning briefing for the Paradise City pattern and, as happens, things had changed since last year, necessitating more detail and new instructions for the early birds who showed for the post-dawn session.
Shortly after the green flag went up, the flying began in earnest, with LSAs, Experimentals and ultralights sharing the airspace around the south side of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport as they have since before there was even a category called LSA.