ith more than sixty exhibitors and a wide variety of airframes, engines and avionics on show, Flyer Live was an excellent showcase for the lighter end of GA. Indeed, if you are the type of aviator that still erroneously believes that a microlight is simply a hang glider with a lawnmower engine bolted onto it, this event would’ve certainly opened your eyes. The range of aircraft on display was quite remarkable, and encompassed everything from powered parachutes to a radial-engined autogyro, as well as a good selection of three-axis aircraft. The autogyros looked particularly sleek, while the very high speeds attainable by some of the flexwing microlights (actually in excess of those achieved by certain ultralights and EASA Very Light Aircraft) are proof of how sophisticated these machines have become.
As Flyer Live is the final GA trade show in the aviation calendar it is the last opportunity to exhibit products in 2015, and several manufacturers displayed novelties. The most attention-grabbing aircraft making its debut was the (main image above). Looking a little like a scaled down Cessna 152, this neat little all-metal aeroplane incorporates many features that are usually found on much larger aircraft, including hydraulic brakes, Fowler flaps and electric trim. With a projected top speed of over 100kt and a ‘fly-away’ price of around £20,000 plus VAT, it definitely created a buzz (and yes, it does have a two-stroke engine!) Also making its UK debut was another intriguing SSDR, the
As reported in ‘ Pilot Notes’ last month, this machine is unique in having a jet/electric hybrid propulsion system, and it certainly generated plenty of interest. Work on the prototype is well advanced, and it is hoped that the aircraft will fly soon. Another innovative machine on display was the
This 13.5m self-launching sailplane uses a combination of lithium-polymer batteries, a 22kw brushless motor and a propeller that folds flush with the fuselage to give excellent takeoff performance. With a claimed best glide ratio of 40:1 it certainly looked a lot of fun, as did the another intriguing little single-seater that appeared at the show. The Elf is powered by a 27hp Polini Thor single-cylinder engine and will be offered with a choice of two wingspans: the 10.73m XM motorglider variant and the XS, which has an 8.75m wing and a non-feathering prop. The XS is claimed to have a maximum cruise speed of almost seventy knots while burning only five litres an hour. exhibited a version of its
for disabled pilots. As always, the proof of the pudding is in the flying, but with a twist-grip throttle and yaw control provided by moving a centre stick laterally, the Belgian company’s system did seem more intuitive than the Tecnam P92’s hand controls, tested by Pilot in 2013. were also there with its biplane (now powered by a D-motor) and we noted that it now boasts wingroot lockers in the lower wing. TLAC also make the Scout two-seater, and the Kub SSDR. All of TLAC’S aircraft feature wings that are easily folded back to the tail, reducing the width dramatically. As the price of hangarage continues to rise, any aircraft with folding wings is likely to become increasingly attractive
The number of autogyros on display at a modern GA trade show never ceases to impress, but the British-designed and its big radial engine stole that side of the show. It was just a shame that there was nobody from the company around to discuss this fascinating flying machine.
Talking of radials, Condor Aviation had two of smart little motors on display: a one capable of producing 40hp, and a version, which was hung on the front of an Aeronca Chief.
Being very familiar with the black, green or red rocker box covers fitted to various Rotax engines, we were instantly intrigued by the engine with the powder blue rocker covers on the stand. This was the new which was making its UK debut.