In typical fashion, Vans Aircraft refused to rest on its laurels after the RV-12s prototype debut last year, and sought to improve on an already good design. The new production airplane has changed (beyond its color), with a castering nosewheel, toe brakes instead of a grip, reshaped control sticks for better clearance, ground-adjustable seats fore and aft as well as in tilt, and the list goes on. Best of all, this day/VFR machine is still a delight to fly; by Ed Kolano.
Robert Simon had the distinction of building the first Lancair ES-P to fly. But the process wasn’t without its challenges. The ES-P employs the cabin design and structure of the pressurized, retractable Lancair IV-P, but has a larger wing and fixed gear. During the build, Simon also deviated from the base design with changes that required factory support to accomplish. Not only did he learn much, he ultimately got the plane he needed; by Dave Higdon.
Test pilot Chuck Berthe flew the Arion Lightning not once but twice, in two different factory demonstrators. The first flight raised concerns about the trim system and longitudinal stability, while the second flight (months later) impressed with improvements to the trim system and the consequent betterment of the airplane’s handling characteristics.
Remember When: The BD-5 Micro
The BD-5's reputation precedes it: long in development, company bankruptcy, investor losses, challenging to fly, early accidents. With an introduction like that, who would think this micro plane would be such a positively straightforward blast to fly?
Turbine Moose: The Ultimate Amphib
Its said that sailors make good floatplane pilots because they understand the nature of wind on the water. Sailboat racer and pilot Rick Orchard took that sentiment to heart in a big way when he decided to pump up an already large homebuilt (the Murphy Moose) by adding Aerocet amphibious floats and a 550-horsepower Pratt & Whitney PT6A-20 turbine engine.
The Staaken Z-21A Flitzer
Intended as an inter-war sportplane, the VW- or Jabiru-powered Staaken Flitzer delivers the goods in both performance and agility. These planes may not appear sleek, but they’re a blast to fly.
Floating The Dream
Rick Lindstrom revisits Canadas Dream Tundra, this time when its on floats. Dream Aircraft Founder Yvan Desmarais spent 10 years developing the prototype for this design, with the intention of building and kitting a better bushplane. Lindstrom says hes achieved that goal and then some.
The $30,000 RV-9A
Two builders helped each other build RV-9As, each employing significantly different outlays of cash. The results are impressive in both cases, but for different reasons. They help us ponder the question as we build: “What is something worth?” By Marc Cook.
The $30,000 RV-9A
Two builders helped each other build RV-9As, each employing significantly different outlays of cash. The results are impressive in both cases, but for different reasons. They help us ponder the question as we build: What is something worth? By Marc Cook.
Although it may resemble its predecessor, this new helo represents a significant evolutionary leap.