Friday, July 31, 2009

Here's Belite's youngest customer.

He cried when he got out.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

far 103 regulations - my comments

Hey, I'm still up so it's time for a second post.

One thing that I've noticed as we've talked to many people here is confusion as to what FAA part 103 (or FAR part 103) is.

We've had some people tell us that it specifically disallows engines with greater than 28HP on wings that have double covering. That's simply not so!

I've also had people tell me that FAA part 103 doesn't allow me to put "Belite Aircraft" on my wing, because that represents 'advertising'. I've carefully read part 103, and I respectfully disagree. There are parts that say an Ultralight can't be used for advertising. A careful reading suggests you can't take money to use the aircraft for advertising someone else's product, and I agree with that interpretation. Backing up that interpretation is another part of part 103, which the naysayers ignore.

Quoting part AC 103-7, specifically 103.14.d(4):

Receiving Discount on Purchase of an Ultralight.

There is no prohibition which would prevent you from taking
advantage of any discount on the price of an ultralight a company
might offer where its logo or name appears on a portion of the
vehicle. You cannot, however, enter into any agreement which
might specify the location; number, or patterns of flights contingent
on receipt of that discount.

Any operation under such an agreement could not be
conducted under Part 103.

This seems pretty straightforward. I, as the manufacturer, can put my logos on my aircraft anywhere I please, including the wings. You, as the customer, can receive a discount if you agree to accept an eggregiously large number of logos in many locations. Heck, let's put them on the tail, the belly, the cowling, the door, the upper wing, the lower wing, the landing gear, the left tire, and just for grins, on the windshield. However, I can not enter into an agreement with you where you agree to fly your plane for my benefit, for a specificed number of flights, or over a specified location.

That's a good thing, because I'd want you to fly over a congested location. ;-)

Fly Safe,


6' 8" man sits in Belite and fits!

Just a quick update after day 3 of Airventure / Oshkosh. What an experience talking with people! We're having fun describing our airplane, and today I found time to walk around the show. We had a man stop by our booth yesterday, he's 6' 8" tall. He took a seat in the Belite, and that's what he looked like. Thanks Jake, for taking a look at our plane!

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,