Belite Aircraft introduced its prototype airplane in Wichita, Kansas, on June 30. The Belite, which incorporates strong but light carbon-fiber components that meet Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 103 weight requirements, provides the handling and excitement of an airplane and the economy and fun of an ultralight, the company says. To be offered in both kit form and as a completed, flyable airplane, the Belite will be built in Wichita.
James Wiebe, president and CEO of Belite Aircraft, provided details on the single-seat design. The Belite design incorporates a new carbon fiber wing and lift struts. In addition, we’ve used carbon fiber in the cabin and firewall, he said. As a result, our aircraft is FAR 103 legal while offering a real instrument panel with real avionics as well as a great engine.
The Wiebes, who previously developed and marketed digital forensic computer storage devices as the founders of Wichita-based enterprise, WiebeTech LLC, acquired the tooling, existing parts and manufacturing rights of an older aircraft in March of 2009 and immediately began a complete review of the structure and composition. An instrument-rated pilot, James Wiebe applied his creativity and experience to this new venture, developing a proprietary lightweight carbon-fiber structure that has been used to strengthen and lighten spars, ribs and struts, replacing traditional steel, wood or aluminum to reduce the airplanes empty weight to about 200 pounds with retractable wings.
The company has the Belite airplane at Oshkosh/AirVenture, in exhibit spaces 612 and 615 in the North Display area. Prices are as follows: The Belite 254 with carbon fiber wings that is on display is a fully assembled, flyable aircraft, equipped with a derated 45 horsepower MZ-201 engine. The basic list price for the Belite 254 is $34,995. The demonstrator aircraft adds factory assembly, which is valued at $19,000, and a list of options that range from a baggage sack ($195) to seat cushions ($250) to LIPO electrical ($495) to panel-mounted avionics ($4000) to a transport kit ($395). The display airplane is also offered with an optional BRS Parachute Recovery System priced at $4500. Its 45-hp engine is $4300 and the 52-inch, three-blade Powerfin propeller adds another $800 to the package. However, during EAA AirVenture, Wiebe announced a free engine, free options discount of $5240, which lowers the price of the assembled demonstrator aircraft to $64,090.
Belite is also offering a Belite 254 Classic Kit, with wood and aluminum wings, carbon fiber firewall, seat bottom and dash top. It is priced at $24,995, less engine. During AirVenture the free engine, free options package price for this display aircraft is $24,995, FOB Wichita. The package includes a 28-hp MZ-201 engine, as well as a baggage sack and seat cushions. Other kits and assembled aircraft packages are available with special AirVenture savings.