The award-winning Aeroprakt A22 Foxbat is an amazing short take-off and landing (STOL), metal airframe, Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) with a huge 2-seat cabin and a good turn of cruise speed.
For training or touring the aircraft will typically (and legally!) carry around 290 kgs, equal to two good-sized people, plus full fuel - and still have capacity for luggage.
It is a perfect aircraft for Australian rugged outback conditions – including mustering and other station activities. With a trained pilot, it will take off in less than 60 metres and land in the same distance. And costs about a quarter of a helicopter to buy and run.
Here are five basic reasons to have a long hard look at a Foxbat. (There are plenty more, and you’ll find out about those in the website at www.foxbat.com.au).
1. It is a very short take-off and landing aircraft
So what? Simply – control and safety. Getting off and on to the ground quickly, at a slow speed, means more time to think, less wear & tear on the landing gear, and less potential damage to the propeller from stones and gravel. And less inertia to bring to a halt if the unthinkable happens and you hit a hole in the paddock.
2. The flight handling is superbly balanced and safe
Stalling is a non-event, even without flap. There is no tendency at all to drop a wing and you can side-slip safely with or without flap. At slow speeds, the controls are light and effective - at higher speeds they firm-up and make cruising a more relaxed affair than in some sensitive ‘performance’ related aircraft.
3. There is a huge amount of room in the cabin
It’s probably the biggest, airiest cabin in its class. This means that whether you’re learning with an instructor or flying with a friend, you’re not jammed shoulder to shoulder, your controls are easier to use, and room to move makes for greater safety all round. Also, the seats are positioned correctly, so tall people do not get a sore neck having to duck down to see under the wing in flight.
4. It’s easy to get into and out of
Fed up of contorting yourself to get over the control sticks? Or jamming your legs to get under the control yokes? Forget it in a Foxbat. The centre stick makes entry and exit as simple as getting into & out of bed! Even the optional control yokes are set high so you can just slide in under them.
5. The visibility is, in the words of one owner, ‘almost scary’
The doors are glazed to the floor, the windscreen is massive and even the rear section of the fuselage is glazed. If you’re teaching in the Foxbat, this makes for superb circuit visibility. If you’re mustering, you can see straight down without banking. And if you’re touring, you can see everything on the ground for miles around.