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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedUltralight/rotorcraft area offers variety
By Barbara A. Schmitz
 

Richard Rentschler, EAA #703100, of Cincinnati, takes a close look at the Streamline Aerolite 103 in the ultralight area.

Michael Globensky with Spirits Up talks about the newly patented BioniX wing in the Tanarg power trike.

You won't find any cows, chickens or goats on this farm. But you will find an assortment of ultralight and light-sport aircraft at the south end of the grounds by EAA's Red Barn throughout the annual fly-in and convention.

Flying on The Farm is a longtime tradition at EAA AirVenture, attracting crowds each morning-the field opens early-and evening, after the daily air show.

And the variety of the machines on display and in the air never fails to find fans from among the spectators.

The single-seat Streamline Aerolite 103 is one of the easiest planes to see with its iridescent orange coloring.

Designer Terry Raber said the Aerolite 103 is a true legal ultralight. "It meets the weight, speed, fuel, and all the criteria of a true Part 103."

Raber said he designed the Aerolite 103 in 1993, first flew it in 1996, and debuted it at Oshkosh in 1997-where the diminutive aircraft twice took the Grand Champion award in both 1997 and 1998.

Power comes from a Hirth F-33 engine with electric start and belt drive turning a three-blade composite propeller. A battery and electrical system, nose faring with windshield, and a dash panel with the basic instrumentation rounds out the standard-equipment list.

A true budget bird, the Aerolite 103 sells for about $14,000 equipped.

The Tanarg features a BioniX wing that has been available in the United States for only a week. Michael Globensky with Spirits Up called it the "most advanced and patented wing for weight-shift control."

"The corset changes the speed of the wind during flights without having to push or pull the position of the control bar," he said. The corset simultaneously adjusts trim speed and changes the form and design of the wing to better adapt to the speed.

Strips of Kevlar fabric sewn into the sail transmit this additional tension to the tip of each wing, he said. It acts directly on the tension of the wing to control its form.

The Mosquito may be small, but it also has a small price for a helicopter.

"This is a real helicopter," said LaDon Moore, a Mosquito owner who was helping out at the exhibit. "It sells in the $30,000 range, and that's dirt cheap for a helicopter."

The Mosquito comes in five versions as both fast-built kits and factory-finished aircraft. It has a composite fuselage, a vacuum-formed canopy, an aluminum or carbon-fiber anti-torque rotor, a flex-coupled floating main-rotor driveshaft, and a floating torque-tube tail-rotor driveshaft-all turned by a MZ202 engine.

Its maximum speed is 70-100-plus mph, depending on the model.

"Plus it's easy to fly," Moore said. "It's comparable to the Schweizer 300."

When everything comes fairly well assembled, it isn't long until someone can actually be flying an Infinity Power Parachute, said owner Alvie Wall.

It takes five or six hours to become proficient in powered parachutes, he said. But you'll want to spend another four hours going over chute rigging and other things.

Then all you need to do is practice.

Wall said Infinity Power Parachutes is one of the only manufacturers that offers optional frontal bars, heavy-duty yet flexible suspension, and the "best" supporting seats in the industry.

They also offer a lighting package that illuminates everything for nighttime flyers, he said.

Infinity Power Parachutes cost about $11,500 for its single seat Challenger series, to $32,000 for its Commander 912S.

The Revo trike won an award for most innovative design, and has been in production for about 1 1/2 years, said Evolution Trike's chief designer Larry Mednick.

"It is all American made, with the exception of the engine, a Rotax, and the gage," Mednick said. The welded structure, made from 4130 Chromoly, is heat treated.

In addition, Mednick said the back seat is comfortable and a bowed mast gives passengers more headroom so they don't have to learn forward.
That space is important, especially if you're doing long-distance flights. Mednick knows; he and his crew flew three Revo trikes to Oshkosh from Florida. It flies at 58 mph hands-off or 100 mph for cross country.

The Revo also has tundra tires and cabin heat, with three hydraulic disk brakes. It uses the Rotax 912S engine, and a real airplane propeller rated for 160 hp, giving it a very distinct sound, he said.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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