By Marino Boric, EAA European Correspondent
This is the second time that the South Italian manufacturer OMA SUD is at AirVenture. The American public first saw the high-wing, twin pusher Skycar during AirVenture 2010, the new Skycar Surveyor for law enforcement, equipped with the SELEX Galileo EOST-46, is a high-performance, passive electro-optical surveillance system.
Skycar is one of the most unusual aircraft in the last decade that went into serial production after receiving FAA certification. Skycar has been designed to be the actual sole multi-utility and multi-purpose aircraft in the GA piston market with a rear-facing opening door on fly. Skycar features two huge doors in front of its T-tail, much like an EC145/BK117 medevac helicopter.
The Skycar is powered by two Lycoming IO-360 engines-installed in a pusher configuration-which should result in reduced interior noise compared to conventional tractor twins. High wing and wide glassed surfaces make the occupants' compartment similar to a helicopter. This airplane is suitable for easy loading/unloading missions and transport of bulky items. The internal layout is flexible and can be adapted to aero taxi, light cargo, and for special military and civil missions.
Price tag of this high-wing five-seater is $900,000. Recently OMA SUD produced the first medevac version that is priced at $1 million. A fixed-gear version is in the works and will be 70 lbs. lighter and approx. $50.000 cheaper.
The Italian manufacturer is transferring the Skycar production facilities to the U.S. in Opa-locka, Florida, where all aircraft for the Americas will be assembled. For training purposes, the first aircraft has already been built in Florida-monitored by the FAA.
OMA SUD is the biggest composite manufacturer in Europe, stated CEO Walter Proietti on Monday. OMA SUD is not only manufacturing parts and chassis for Ferrari, Audi, Lamborghini, but it is manufacturing components even for Formula 1 and other racing series.
The company's new LSA, the Redbird, is an all-composite, carbon-fiber, low-wing aircraft powered by the Rotax 912S. A Fiat diesel automotive engine conversion is planned as well. First international appearance was during AERO 2012 in Germany.
This tall and unusually roomy two-seater features a cabin width of 53 inches and is classified as a high-end European ultralight. Maiden flight was in early 2012, and the LSA certification is expected by mid-2013. In Europe, Redbird will be offered with retractable and fixed gear, but only in fixed-gear configuration in the United States.
OMA SUD officials say Redbird will be certified first in Europe as a VLA (very light aircraft) by the end of 2012, followed by introduction in the U.S. LSA market by mid-2013. Price is expected to be around $120,000.
For more information visit www.OMASUD.it or visit its exhibit in booths 15-16.