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Is the US destroying Rec Aviation


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The greatest thing I feel about recreational aviation is apart from the joys and fun we have flying recreational aircraft, is that this industry allows us to define the future in aviation. We can simply put pencil to paper and dream, designing an aircraft that has never ever been thought of. It allows us to try all kinds of different designs and then set to building that unique design at home in our garages.

 

We have seen barriers in design broken with aircraft shaped like a flying saucer, aircraft using different flap designs and much more ingenuity in every aspect of an aircraft. But what happens if when designing that aircraft you have to place a limitation on that design - you are limiting the future of aircraft design and recreational aviation.

 

For it to be worth designers and manufacturers to progress into the future they need it to be financially viable to do so.

 

In the US, the biggest market for recreational aircraft, they have placed a limit of 120 knots that an LSA aircraft can fly. This means that a designer will only design a recreational aircraft to a max of 120 knots. He no longer has to think of how he can stream line the aircraft to reduce drag, he doesn't have to worry about engine design improvements because if he did his design would be to fast and therefore not allowed in the fastest and biggest growing area of aviation.

 

So, do you have any comments on this? Is the US destroying the great designs of tomorrow in aviation?

 

 

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I don't know about destroying

 

but

 

I believe that we are compromising Australian recreational aviation by adopting the LSA concept from the USA.

 

i believe we are well and better served by the opportunities and protections provided by the combination of RAAus registration categories and VH experimental.

 

dem's my thoughts

 

Davidh

 

 

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Don't you think this also applies to RA in Oz as well, Ian? I'm thinking more of the experimental category where it all starts. CASA set limits such as single engine, single prop. Now I can understand 'no twins' as we don't train for asymmetric power flying, but why shouldn't we be allowed one or two engines with contra-rotating props on the same axis? Imaginative design usually starts with one man/womans dream, that once proven, will be take up by those who want to make money out of it.

 

Cheers, Doug

 

 

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BTW, the English Electric Lightning (see avatar) was the only multi-engined jet ever to have no asymmetrical flight problems due to its two engines being mounted one on top of the other. British innovation, can't beat it.

 

 

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Guest pelorus32

Hi Ian,

 

I don't think that the US is stuffing up rec aviation here. I blame the US for almost everything else in the world that's wrong, but not that!

 

Take the 120 knots. If you look at the GA fleet you will not see many aircraft (fixed gear) that bust that limit. Yes there are some but some bit of legislation in the US is not the reason for a lack of "high speed" rec aviation aircraft.

 

Rec aviation started out as rag and tube mainly. High drag slow a/c. Then we got all sorts of other types but a key feature is that they don't look much different to lots of GA aircraft.

 

An aircraft that is simple to build and is cost effective to buy has limitations on what it can do. The drag penalty increases as speed increases and you therefore need substantial power increase to get there. That means more fuel per unit distance and it means more complex more expensive power plants and probably increased weight in the power plant. That is more to lug around and therefore requires more power to reach that same high speed.

 

Soon you have to get into more expensive lightweight structures, ditch the passenger....all in order to burn more fuel for a few more knots.

 

If it were easy to get cheap (relatively), robust, fast a/c with good load carrying capacity then GA would have done it. If you look at the Galsairs, Cirrus etc they all have one thing in common - a bloody great big engine up front.

 

Spare a thought for our 1300cc 75kw Rotax 912ULS. It does a fantastic job, reliably (in the main), and on a fairly small fuel budget.

 

You can have a fast aircraft but you have to be prepared to compromise on other things to get it.

 

LSA is not the problem. Most LSA aircraft that I know of that can do over 120knots S&L are limited to 120 knots by various artifices of engine and prop configuration. The underlying a/c is still capable.

 

One of the key things that LSA has done is to relieve manufacturers of the massive cost burden of getting their a/c approved. An Australian example: I'm quite sure that the Dova Skylark would not have been at Echuca, or indeed available in Australia, but for LSA. Highflyer may care to comment.

 

Regards

 

Mike

 

 

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Guest High Plains Drifter

A good rule of thumb; The faster the aircraft, the faster you get into trouble - be it aerodynamicly, situational or in the ATC system.

 

The FAA is probably thinking about the skill level of the average LSA pilot.

 

 

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Guest pelorus32

As for speeds:

 

A CT doing Shepparton to Echuca at 120 knots gets there 2 minutes ahead of a Tecnam doing 105 knots. The difference stretches to 23 minutes over the distance Shepparton to Broken Hill (329 nm). I'm firmly in the "who cares" school of thought for this kind of margin.

 

I think it gets very hard to achieve in most aircraft a 150 - 160 knot cruise. That's where you would see the difference. The cost of building/buying and the cost of fuel would however vastly increase.

 

For mine you have two options: Build an RV or the like and pay the fuel bill or buy a Cirrus and pay the capital cost and the fuel.

 

RA is supposed to be about simple 2 seat aircraft. RA training is focused on that.

 

Let's not end up with massively expensive aircraft with limited load carrying capacity, high capital cost, high recurrent cost and high level of complexity. We'll end up with pilots a half a mile behind the aircraft and an industry that can't sustain itself.

 

RA - whether LSA or not - is a compromise between lots of things. The aircraft we have now with speeds up to 130 knots, modest acquisition costs and modest operating costs, along with good utility are in my view a very good compromise.

 

I don't knock getting somewhere at 2 nm per minute airspeed (120 knots) with my partner in crime. The view's great, the company's great and the sense of a magic carpet is wonderful. The fuel economy is around 8.1 litres/100km (still air).

 

Let's take time to enjoy smelling the roses along the way and enjoy what we have.

 

Philosophically yours...

 

Mike

 

 

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The subject of casual discussion that I put forward was more along the lines of if limitations are imposed then those limitations of today are limiting the designs of tomorrow - speed can be increased by reducing drag in the way an aircraft is designed - if we don't care about speed, or limit it, then the design will come to a halt in going any further because there is no benefit to fit in today's limitations. The same goes for engine technology - if we have a 100hp engine that gives us 120kts in our plane, why should we develop that engine any further in the objective of increasing speed - just general thoughts and comments!

 

 

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At the risk of copping a fairly large smack, I'll wade in as well. The idea behind a rec aircraft is to keep it simple (KIS principle). How well is the average rec pilot trained and what qualifications does the instructor need? From my view point the training standards in rec aircraft are somewhat more relaxed than that of GA.

 

Not a problem with the training in principle and a 90-100 kt aircraft is fairly easily managed. However, from experience, a 150 kt aircraft requires that you be on the ball all the time and keep your wits about you.

 

From a design point of view, do the majority understand aerodynamics well enough to design an aircraft that is capable of safe flight at 150kts? Do they have access to the required testing "stuff" whatever that is?

 

Basically, you either self regulate or you will be regulated.

 

I see RA as a laid back, go for a fly type place to be with uncomplicated aircraft that are easy to handle.

 

There is a place for lighting up an engine and wringing the daylights out of an airframe and I think that place is in GA experimental.

 

RA has its share of accidents and fatalities, lets not go trying to break the sound barrier in aircraft that may not be up to it and giving the authorities a good reason to shut the whole lot down.

 

Leave the high performance stuff to GA......

 

Regards

 

Phil

 

 

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Guest disperse

as far as money = speed. and the money facter being a big part of our flying group. I will still agree that the 120knot limit in the US, DOES slow the progress of where SOME of our future planes are going.

 

How long ago was is it that an affordable 150kt cruise 2 seat was just a pipe dream.

 

and it still might seem near impossible ...... but here they are. The Joey2 form G Morgans stable .... and the Lightning ... Either of these planes could be in the air for around $65,000 . ..

 

Then we have the LOW and SlOW. some of these have cruises of 90 to 100kts . Not that long ago, those cruise speeds were the thing of the FAST ultralights.

 

I know that there are SO many variables in the craft we fly. and even more variables in the craft's of our dreams. but for those of us that want to go distances on a regular basis... speed is of a high concern.. not the only concern though.

 

its similar to someone that holds the STOL performance very highly.. 10m or 20m difference in take off and land..... may just be the decider.

 

but as for SPEED and is the US 120kt limit slowing the development of faster planes....I say YES. however if they can't make them faster. then there is a good chance that they are developing craft abilities in other ways...

 

 

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I agree with Flyer, if the limits are too restrictive and you really want to push the envelope, then you really need to move to the next level of aviation, RA is not meant for it.

 

The reason I chose RA over GA was simply because I was not going to turn it into a career, I just want to go for a fly, take some photos, meet up with friends, throw a tent in the back and have a stay over somewhere, amongst other things.

 

 

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one thing I can think of these new regulations are going to stifle is future development of low cost twin engine designs. any one who has ever had his engine cough/splutter/ #@&*## during flight can testify to the relative safety of having two engines. gliding silently towards earth looking for a suitable paddock to land is not a very nice feeling to have. and No I am not thinking conventional twins with high cost/accident rates/training issues, may be something more like Deskpilot's coaxial twin photo,centreline twin or something which has'n been designed as yet.

 

 

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I agree with Flyer, if the limits are too restrictive and you really want to push the envelope, then you really need to move to the next level of aviation, RA is not meant for it.The reason I chose RA over GA was simply because I was not going to turn it into a career, I just want to go for a fly, take some photos, meet up with friends, throw a tent in the back and have a stay over somewhere, amongst other things.

I agree with the above, like a lot of people I operate both GA and RAAus, and I see them as 'horses for courses'. On a general note, limiting speed to 120knots does not inhibit development in my opinion, as speed is only one outcome of the lift/weight/power/drag relationship. If you have excess speed you can convert that into lift by using that power to offset the increased drag of a deeper airfoil and giving the aircraft a higher useful load. So to see speed as the only factor is a bit simplistic, development can go in many directions besides that one. You can get phenomenal speeds from a 100HP C-1A air racer like the Cassut, 'Hoot' Gibsons does 238MPH, but it can't go anywhere, or lift anything, or land on a short runway.

 

 

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Speed & development.

 

Some good wisdom evident here, if I may say so without being patronising. Keep it coming.

 

For myself. the more complex the aircraft, the more things that can go wrong & have to be repaired at some time or other, therefore, for me, the maximum enjoyment is with the minimum complexity, but with good basic design, and an aeroplane that feels "nice to fly". It is likely that this is a product of having had my fill of complex aeroplanes, so that I have arrived here over time. Fun for dollar is what it has to be now, or I do something else. I also have to mention the bul***t factor. Too much of that and you are wasting your time, so you have to strike a balance, as with all things. Nev...

 

 

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How fast is too fast?

 

I suppose I always considered 120kts pretty fast. For RA anyways.

 

I've personally considered the seriously quick aircraft more as GA compromises, all the benefits (except payload), but without the cost.

 

Plus, what exactly defines RA? Certainly, a lot of the entire point of the exercise is to get aircraft that are cheap for the recreational aviator to fly. If you have to start spending $200K plus on a super fast aircraft, then you might as well get a GA license and fly with the big boys.

 

With all the aircraft being certified as LSA, it seems to be more a GA wannabe category, rather than whats been classified as RA till now.

 

I'm still stunned at the costs involved with flying most RAA aircraft today. The large majority can't be constructed below $50K, and I still can't believe the number of aircraft exceeding $100K.

 

OUCH! Pretty much completely blown my budget.

 

Speed and performance is great. But with it comes the cost.

 

I'd like to see plenty of aircraft, with excellent performance characteristics, still in the sub120kt area, and well under $80K. Otherwise, many of us will be priced right out of aviation.

 

So, there's still room for design under 120kts, I'd say.

 

Scotty

 

 

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It would seem to me, if the parameters are set the innovation has to come within those parameters, surly speed is but one area of aviation.

 

Innovation of deign, fuel efficiency, comfort, stol performance and of course safety would benefit all aviation greatly.

 

Don

 

 

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As well as these factors, it would be great if the deigners and importers could do a little homework first, and factor the COST of the plane into things.

 

I was lusting after a Pioneer 300 for a time, but the fact it cost $175,000 put me off in nanoseconds.

 

If firms are real about selling new aircraft in the RAA category, then consider the retail price/market equation.

 

So, at the moment I will hire the clubs Tecnam, and if I buy an aircraft, it looks like being a second hand PA28 at the moment.

 

Ben

 

 

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Cost of plane.

 

That sounds like a desperate move Ben, but when you compare the price of the sort of U/L that you mention, with the cost of some second-hand G.A. you could be tempted. BUT BEWARE, some of these aircraft are in scary condition, and owning them can be the NIGHTMARE you never wake up from, especially the sheet metal ones that have been in a corrosive environment. I still believe that you can get a lot of plane in a GA package for a reasonable price, and I don't regret buying my Citabria at all. Nev....

 

 

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I love recreational aviation, the freedoms it allows me, cruising around the country side without the politics, demands and bureaucracy that GA burdens me with and let's face it, Australia is a big place and we (that are not retired) have the demands of a fast paced lifestyle, work and family commitments etc and therefore don't have the luxury of time to go any distance. I personally don't want to just do circuits or have to turn around and come back as soon as I go any reasonable distance.

 

This is why I bought a CT. It is fast and very comfortable. I can easily just jump in it on a Saturday and go from Melb to Syd, spend some time in Sydney, stay the night and leisurely cruise back on the Sunday ready to go back to work on Monday.

 

The CT does take some hours getting use to her landing characteristics and is not for the ab-initio student. After 50hrs you are starting to feel very comfortable in her flying around at 130kts cruise but that is great for what I want and for cruising around this vast country of ours which is what she was designed for - performance, comfort and safety in a great long distance touring machine.

 

Now, Flight Design will be releasing a new CT next year that is 18" longer, more drag and slower speed to fit in the US 120kt limit. They are going to make the CT easier for the ab-initio person to land and take less hours to get to know her - why - because they can spend 10kts of her cruise downgrading what she was designed for as the extra 10kts is wasted in the US.

 

Sure, it will be an easier aircraft to land but after say 50hrs to me she lands like any other aircraft anyway - and like any other aircraft you just have to get use to her. In my own personal opinion that when you impose limits in design like this you are promoting a "normalised" world - a world of limited growth or perhaps limited areas of growth.

 

Just a point of thought - nothing more!

 

 

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Why is it that you can buy many high performance cars that will easily go much, much faster than any speed limit (and driven by millions) but THEY decide we (few) cant be trusted to fly no faster than 120 knots, so they "nobble" the aircraft design.

 

regards

 

 

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Guest disperse
As well as these factors, it would be great if the deigners and importers could do a little homework first, and factor the COST of the plane into things.I was lusting after a Pioneer 300 for a time, but the fact it cost $175,000 put me off in nanoseconds.

 

If firms are real about selling new aircraft in the RAA category, then consider the retail price/market equation.

 

So, at the moment I will hire the clubs Tecnam, and if I buy an aircraft, it looks like being a second hand PA28 at the moment.

 

Ben

Lightning 150kts cruise

 

pulsar 100 140kts

 

(GM's) serria100 135kts

 

all 3 can be in the air for under 70k.

 

But what the restriction in the US will do is slow the development of aircraft that cruise at 150kts. within 5 years we will have a number of Super Stol aircraft THAT CRUISE AT 120kts. and a few more that cruise at 150kts.

 

if the US set there limit to 150kts. you can garuntee that within twelve months the number of aircraft that could do this would increase dramaticly.

 

 

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Let's take the car as an example. Remember the muscle cars that got banned by the government? To develop a muscle car that had greater speed they also had to put a lot of R&D into everything else in the car - they had to develop better braking, better suspension, better steering, better weight distribution - in fact they had to put a lot of development into every aspect of the car simply because of the speed. That kind of development would have filtered down into the non-muscle cars and the companies would be striving to find better ways of doing things - that would be the future.

 

What do we have now - very small incremental changes in engine development - I mean yes engines have changed a lot but it has taken 30 years so it has been small incremental changes and we only have changes in 0 to100 or fuel consumption. The shape of cars have become normalised with the Holden and Ford at one stage looking very much the same shape in general terms i.e. make them out of clay with no distinguishing marks and there wouldn't be much different. In only the last few years have we seen them separating slightly.

 

There are two major impacts to aircraft design, that is speed and weight. Change either one of these and the flow on effects are enormous in terms of structural design. With structural design comes the development of new materials, new methods of construction, new component development etc.

 

We must always remember how we started and that there is a major place for the low end aircraft but to limit or put restrictions on either speed or weight will in my opinion limit light recreational aviation for the future and the flow on effects to the low end will also stagnate them.

 

Personal opinion only!

 

 

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