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Light Sport Aircraft

The SkyRunner in flight

Back in 2008, we heard about a parasail-equipped dune buggy, known as the Parajet Skycar. It could scramble over rough ground like a true off-roader, but then take to the skies when needed. One epic 6,000-km (3,728-mile) drive/flight from London to Tombouctou later, its creators got some ideas about how the design could be improved. The result is the lighter, better-flying and less-polluting SkyRunner – and you can order one now.  Read More

The Aeromobil flying car designed by Stefan Klein takes to the skies for the first time

There is a saying in flying: “If it looks good, it will fly well.” Stefan Klein, a designer from the Slovak Republic, has announced the first flight of his Aeromobil Version 2.5, a flying car prototype he has been developing over the last 20 years. This vehicle is a strikingly beautiful design with folding wings and a propeller in the tail. But will its flight capabilities match its looks?  Read More

Terrafugia flying car during Phase I flight test (Photo: Terrafugia)

Six years after the initial announcement that Terrafugia, Inc. would develop a "roadable airplane", the Transition has completed the first phase of flight testing. The flight testing, carried out at Plattsburgh International Airport in northern New York State, assessed the light sport aircraft's full performance envelope. The Transition prototype was reported to perform "exceptionally well", allowing the testing to be carried out quickly.  Read More

Pipistrel is releasing the ALPHA in 2012 at an intro price of EUR59,000

European ultralight aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel has taken note of the ever increasing prices being quoted for entry-level Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) and has done something about it. Enter the ALPHA Trainer. Its 34-foot 6-inch wingspan, reliable Rotax 4-cylinder, 4-stroke engine and rugged landing gear makes it suitable for flight training, and its 108 knot (200 km/h) cruising speed is right up there with most of the fast boys.  Read More

ICON Aircraft's A5 amphibious, two-seat, composite carbon fiber plane at Oshkosh/EAA Airve...

Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) manufacturer, ICON Aircraft, has announced two major design enhancements aimed at to simplifying aircraft complexity and increase safety in its A5 amphibious, two-seat, composite carbon fiber plane. The first improvement for the plane,which is edging closer to production, is the elimination of wing flaps, which will simplify pilot operations, while the second is a spin-resistant design that will include, amongst other things, the addition of wing cuffs to lower the stall speed of the aircraft.  Read More

The Terrafugia Transition in the air

Is this the first viable flying car? It's a question we posed back in 2006 when we first looked at the prototype Terrafugia Transition. It now looks like the answer is yes. The flying car (or “roadable aircraft,” as the Massachusetts-based company prefers), can fly like a regular plane and land at an airport before folding up its wings and hitting the road. In car mode, it can travel at highway speeds and park in regular parking spots. Terrafugia had been hoping the Transition could be classified as a light sport aircraft, as a sport pilot’s license is considerably easier to get than a regular private pilot’s license. Unfortunately, it was proving impossible to meet all the road safety requirements, while still keeping the vehicle weight under the 1,320-pound limit for a light sport aircraft. Well, it has just been announced that the US Federal Aviation Authority will make an exception for the Transition, and allow it to squeak in at 1,430 pounds. Things are looking up for this little aeromobile.  Read More

ICON Aircraft unveils fold-up amphibious sports plane

A recurring theme at Gizmag in recent times has been the growing accessibility of the recreational sports aircraft, with manufacturers offering increasingly versatile and user-friendly designs combined with falling price points. Like the Cessna SkyCatcher, the ICON A5, which was officially unveiled last week in Los Angeles, is a case in point. Powered by a 100hp Rotax 912 ULS engine achieving an estimated maximum speed of 105 kts (120 mph) and a range of 300 nm, the amphibious, two-seat, composite carbon fiber plane features a sportscar inspired cockpit and retractable landing gear for flying off land and water, but the standout element is the folding wing design which allows the plane to be towed on the road like a speed boat and stored at home rather than paying for space at an airport.  Read More

Cessna SkyCatcher prototype nears completion

February 27, 2008 The Cessna SkyCatcher, which has been attracting a steady stream of attention since the program was officially launched last year, will have a prototype ready to fly in the coming months.  Read More

Storch CL Amphibian

August 16, 2007 Due to improving airplane technology and increasing disposable income, ultra-light aircraft are now becoming accessible to a far wider proportion of the population. Joining the Ramphos in lending weight to this argument is the Storch Amphibian, a light weight amphibious sporting plane available in kit form for around AUD$57K, or ready to fly for under $93K.  Read More

The Terrafugia Transition - the first viable flying car?

An interesting new flying car is being launched this week at Oshkosh. The Transition is a Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) designed to make general aviation more practical for personal transportation. From start-up company Terrafugi, the Transition drives like a car on public roads and can transition into an aircraft at the nearest airport by lowering its 27-foot wings and taking off. As an aircraft it has a top speed of 130mph, a range of 500 miles and can carry a payload of 430 pounds. One stop gives you over a thousand miles of range inside eight hours. Then you land and fold up the wings and you’re back on the road. As Terrafugia Chief Operating Officer Anna Mracek explains, deposits are being taken at Oshkosh, “our anticipated purchase price is $148k, and a deposit of 5% of that anticipated price will secure your place in line, but not guarantee that exact price.” The Transition delivers 30 mpg in either car or plane mode and promises a true integrated roadable aircraft at an economically compelling price. A prototype is being constructed and deliveries will start in 2009. The Transition will be capable of driving at normal highway speeds, flying at speeds that approach the light sport aircraft limit, and park in a standard garage. The CEO and CTO of Terrafugia is Carl Dietrich – note that name as he’s been incredibly impressive in everything he’s ever attempted and this is an ambitious play. Carl will receive his PhD from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics this year. Carl received both his SB and SM degrees from the same department, winning all four out of four design competitions available to him then the golden globe for entrepreneurs, the prestigious $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize which annually recognizes one student for outstanding innovations.  Read More

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