Monday, July 27, 2009
Oshkosh / Airventure and Belite, Day 1
It's the end of the first day of Oshkosh. I'm the only one in our group of five who's still up. I just got done creating a 38 slide .ppt document for my presentation tomorrow, "How to reduce weight in ultralight aircraft". It covers 4 major areas: engines, carbon fiber wings, wheels & brakes, and miscellaneous things like our fuel tank design. All in all, it explains step by step how we cut over 50 pounds out of the weight of our aircraft design. Cool! By using a different (lower HP) engine, we could have cut 80+ pounds. Very cool!!
In hindsight, it appears that it would have been possible to fly our bird with a weight of less than 210 pounds. We could have done it, but we focused on improving it and using our weight budget wisely.
Pricing: We're offering the airplane at the show with a free engine and free wing assembly, so you can end up with a 'bolt together' kit that includes just about everything except paint and propeller, all for $25K. This would be for what we call the 'classic' kit, which uses wood and aluminum in the wing. The Carbon Fiber option costs $7K more. We'll build and cover it for you for $19K more; We'll upgrade the engine to 45HP for just $1K more. Lots of bargains, just at Oshkosh.
I heard some great comments today about our airplane -- many thanks! Here's what attracts people's attention:
1) The overall design.
2) The fact that it can be flown with no medical, or even a busted medical.
3) The visibility -- the rear window design.
4) The fishing rod compartment.
5) The lightweight engines.
6) Of course, people love the Carbon Fiber.
7) No FAA registration.
8) No pilot license. (We do strongly recommend tailwheel proficiency,... )
9) Very quick building. About the fastest build possible.
10) The steel fuselage (even though it only weighs about 42 pounds.) Because it's crashworthy!
11) The quick performance with the big engine.
12) Really meeting part 103's weight requirement!
There's a few other features that I haven't spoken about much. We have carpet in our plane, and the fuel tank is quick disconnect, so you can refuel it outside of the plane. The battery is quick clip removable as well, so you can start the engine, and remove the battery, should you desire. This can save weight, too.
I now have a new email address as well: james AT beliteaircraft DOT com.
I'm also pleased to report that it looks like we are getting some significant media coverage: I'm expecting a great article on the airplane, and I did two great interviews today as well.
The picture I posted at the top of this post is from our photo shoot, a few weeks ago at Jabara.
We repainted the cowl just before we left for Airventure, it looks fantastic. I'll try and get pictures posted tomorrow.
See you tomorrow,