Friday, March 12, 2010

Flight Review of Belite

This post was updated on June 30, 2010:

For a direct link to the Flight Review mentioned below in this post, click here:


Has anyone flight reviewed a Belite?

Why YES! Someone came to Wichita and and performed an independent and thorough review of the Belite. We expect to see an article published in April, hopefully in time for distribution at Sun N Fun. Last week, Scott Severen came to our airport and took the bird through its paces. I was nervous, anxious, excited. What would happen?

Scott has a long history in the aircraft (and especially the ultralight) market, having been a principal at Airbike and TEAM aircraft. He knows his stuff. I met him at Sebring back in January, and we'd hoped to have him fly the aircraft at that time. Since that didn't work out, he came up to Wichita from his home near Dallas. He's writing the article at the request of one of our industry periodicals.

I helped Scott with a long preflight briefing -- we covered just about every nut and bolt on the airframe, along with discussions of speeds, stall technique, flying characteristics and more.

And then he took off.

Does a Belite really sound like that?

It was odd to watch our Belite fly overhead, without me in it.

I saw Scott do things with the airplane I am not (yet) capable of doing. I was amazed.

I'm looking forward to reading his entire experience and review in the article.

In the course of the day, we shot hundreds of photos. The best will be in the magazine article, but a few are in this blog.

Scott flew the Superlite, with a Hirth F23 engine. The aircraft was equipped with big tires, brakes, minimal instrumentation, carbon fiber wings, composite tail wheel spring, carbon fiber firewall, carbon fiber floorboard, carbon fiber seatback and bottom, 5 gallon spun aluminum fuel tank (beautiful), wood instrument panel (minimal, but beautiful), UV treated ceconite wings, naked tail, full 4130 black powdercoated chromalloy fuselage (safety), BRS full frame parachute (safety), electric start, dual ignition, and full wrapover windshield. The engine was spinning a 60 x 36 prop, and it ran smoothly. For a battery, I was using a 1.5 pound Lipo battery, with a quick disconnect battery plug. The engine was throttle stopped at about 75% power, which I've verified is capable of producing the fastest possible cruise in a part 103 aircraft.

Here's some things I'm hoping Scott talks about:

1) flight characteristics
2) takeoff and climb performance
3) glide rate
4) landing and runway control
5) slips
6) fun factor
7) transition requirements
8) world's best turn and bank indicator (that would be the breeze on your face) :-)
9) trim
10) stalls, both power on and power off

Scott, come on back and fly the Trike!!

Speaking of the Trike, tomorrow I'll be publishing some comments on the Trike program and where we are at.

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