Do you remember the TL Sport Sting? It is a two place low wing sexy looking light sport from Europe. There are 120 flying in the U.S. and 510 worldwide. As popular as the Sting has been, however, it lacked one important trait. It comes only as a factory built ship. No kits are available.
Enter the TL Sport Aircraft Sparker. It is faster, more competent, more comfortable and even sexier than the Sting. That is saying a lot. Even better, the Sparker will be available in Experimental form to home builders in the U.S.
The Sparker is a fully retractable side-by-side low-wing cruiser with composite construction. With the available Rotax 915 turbocharged engine, its max cruise is advertised at 165 knots. Its service ceiling is 23,000 feet. With a 38-gallon fuel capacity, it has an effective range of 1000 statute miles. With the 915, the airplane will carry a 1654-pound maximum gross weight, which should leave 750 pounds for people, baggage and fuel. All of this comes with a luxurious interior, including heated seats, two Bose headsets, 3 Garmin G3X touch screens and a Garmin autopilot. The two-seat cockpit is 49.5 inches wide with side sticks to maximize lap room.
Although the Sparker has the qualities of a good cross country machine, pilots who have flown it report pleasantly light controls without being twitchy. The Sparker lands at 55 knots over the fence, touching down at 50 knots.
Although the Sparker is offered in the U.S. as an Experimental/Amateu-Built aircraft, you will not be able to have a kit shipped to your door. It is only offered as project to be built with factory assistance in Hradec Kralov, Czech Republic (about an hour east of Prague). Once you sign all of the paperwork and stroke the big check, they schedule you for a three -week stay in the charming town near the factory. TL Sport factory folks will then train you in construction techniques and supervise your “51%” construction of your own ship. During those three weeks, you will also receive transition training in factory aircraft. Once your portion of the construction is over, the factory will finish up what is left, test fly your plane and then crate it up for delivery to you in the U.S. The big advantage of this process is that you not only participate in the adventure of building your own plane in Europe, you complete the process in a few months, not years.
Although there are no Sparkers in the U.S. yet, TL North America President Trey Murdaugh will be flying to the Czech Republic this May to construct the first U.S. ship. He expects the completed aircraft to reach their U.S. headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina, in June. He plans to fly off the 40 hours in test flights and have the Sparker at AirVenture in July.
The list price for a Sparker, with a Rotax 912 ULS and full panel is $320,500. A 915 turbo Rotax will end up closer to $370,000, but the fluctuating Euro may well lower the final price tag. For more information visit tlsportaircraft.com.
Photos courtesy of TL Sport.