Paulo Iscold’s Nixus put air under its wings for the first time March 4 at Castle Airport (formerly Air Force Base) in Merced, California. The goal of the Nixus project was to to push the limits of the soaring sport, as well as bring innovation to general aviation.
The primary technical challenge was to develop an extremely high aspect ratio wing using fly by wire controls – the first time fly by wire technology has been used in a general aviation airplane, according to Iscold.
First-flight test pilot was Jim Payne, chief pilot of the Airbus-Perlan Project. The flight was performed after three days of ground preparation, with the assistance of student members of CalPoly-SLO’s Akaflieg group (Iscold is in his first year as a professor at SLO). The first flight is an important milestone to the project, but is just the beginning of a new phase in this project, with a significant expansion of the flight envelope planned.