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If you are flight planning for an around Australia trip for 12 months. What......


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What aircraft in the RAA LSA category would you choose to do it in.  AND WHY?

If you were buying new or  newish second hand plane. 

Two people.

What are your pros or must haves?

And cons?

What requirements and specs would you want with or in the aircraft to do this flight.

I have already allocated in the back (or tied to the wing, smile - casa)  12kg for light pop up tent, sleeping bags, and overnight stuff including sat phone, 5lt water and instant food if I get stuck in the back blocks or weather related.

Flying will be mostly coastal ISH.

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I am nearly ready 🙂  

Are the moderators able to split this thread?   I’d appreciate all the argy bargy on the ATEC aircraft being split off and leave just the touring OZ thread comments.   Thanks in ad

I rest the case,  looks very slow to me, and yes one up. But I agree that its bloody slow.     

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I have never been inside a Jabiru but I did research this question and the J230 came out on top. Practical and good load capacity. At the time there were several relatively new ones to be had around $90 k but I suspect they are not so available now. Autopilot would be very handy. Otherwise instruments don’t matter, steam gauges are  fine, navigate with the iPad.

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Most of you already know that I am half of ATEC Aircraft Sales Australasia, so as such I may be perceived as having a particular bias. However, I truly believe that ATEC aircraft are great flying machines. I don’t like the connotations around the word bias, I like to think of my enthusiasm for ATEC aircraft as being a strong preference for one manufacturer, while acknowledging the worthy products from many others. Unlike many people with a strong preference, I think I have the facts to back my position:

ATEC AIRCRAFT -

Are powered by your choice of Rotax 9 series engines. No point in “waxing lyrical” on this subject, most will know of the justifiable reputation of the Rotax 9 series.

Have one of the widest performance envelopes to be found amongst RAA eligible aircraft. The Faeta stalls at 27 knots & can cruise all day at 134 knots (18 l/h). 134 knots will get you almost anywhere fast. A 27-knot stall is a fantastic safety feature – you can perform very short field landing rolls and in the unlikely event of a forced landing, you will almost certainly walk away.

Light & powerful controls that are effective right down & through the stall – these aircraft can “loiter” at 70-80 knots without so much as a burble (great for photographing that coastline).

Can be off the ground in under 100 m and climb out at over 1500 ft /min.

With empty weights in the +/- 300 kg area they have terrific load carrying capacity.

Very robust undercarriage making landings on gavel/dirt/grass strips a no brainer.

Roomy & quiet cockpit with great in-flight visibility.

Fuselage requires almost no maintenance.

Up to 100 L fuel capacity, giving 5.5 hrs duration at Max cruise, 7 hrs at Economy and 8 hrs at a 100 knot EXtreme economy cruise (all to exhaustion). The addition of a ferry bladder, like TurtlePac, would make you almost independent of fuelling stops.

All models are available as factory or very advanced kits and there is a seemingly endless standard list of options PLUS the factory will discuss any particular “wants” a purchaser might be dreaming of. Preloved ATEC aircraft do appear in the "For Sale" columns but infrequently - try Googling here & overseas.

Cost? – well they are not cheap but they do represent a much “bigger bang for the buck” than the very few other aircraft that can deliver similar performance.

To answer the question posed – give me an ATEC Zephyr, Faeta or Faeta NG to go round Australia – few other aircraft (in this class) will deliver the reliability, economy, range speed, safety and comfort -  real confidence builders.

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How do you get on in an Australian summer with a quoted  (from the Faeta manual) Va of 89 knots, and how do they arrive at Vra (rough air) of 97 knots?

Much of the flying I've done in the last few weeks, I would consider very rough and those speeds are considerably less than normal cruise, which would pretty much negate the speed advantage.

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I second the Jabiru J230 these are fantastic aircraft.

Number 2 would be a J160 or J170.

They are tough and reliable with easy to get parts if you do have a problem.

If you want to be stuck somewhere with something like a coolant leak and hard to get part's fly some imported thing (good luck with that).

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10 hours ago, M61A1 said:

How do you get on in an Australian summer with a quoted  (from the Faeta manual) Va of 89 knots, and how do they arrive at Vra (rough air) of 97 knots?

Much of the flying I've done in the last few weeks, I would consider very rough and those speeds are considerably less than normal cruise, which would pretty much negate the speed advantage.

Hi M6

 

Va - Designed maneuvering speed - this is the max speed at which full defection (to the "stops") of any single flight control can be made without negative impact on the aircraft structure. In most instances this is a limitation for aerobatic/fighter aircraft and has little relevance for normal flight operations.

Vra - Rough air (turbulence) penetration speed - this is an air speed that should concern every pilot and should be known for the aircraft under their control. It is common for this airspeed to be higher than Va, as its instigation and impacts are calculated differently (something that is beyond my puny brain) and involve the capacity of the pilot to make the decision to slow the aircraft.

 

 Unfortunately "free lunches" are a rare, if not rarer than "hens teeth", this is especially so in aviation.

 

If you want the flight envelope like the ATEC range,  that our team is happy to demonstrate, you will have a  wing that will be more sensitive to turbulence than an other aircraft that may have a stall say in the low 40 knot range and be less sensitive to turbulence. For a given horse power, if you accept the higher stall you will also be accepting longer take off/landing role, less survivable forced landing and quite possibly higher fuel burn.

 

Turbulence should be part of the environment that a good pilot "manages". I fly an old ATEC Zephyr, not quite the flight envelope of the Faeta's, but similar enough to have an opinion.

I probably slow to Vra half a dozen times in any 12 month period and then only for that section of the flight where turbulence is apparent. In summer (Sydney Basin) this is usually below 5-7k ft (sometimes even lower). If the forecast is for rough air 0-10,000 ft, I probably wont fly unless I feel I must, then I just grit my teeth , put up with it and fly accordingly.

My last, memorable, turbulence event was on  summer  ( temps in low 40C) flight taking me to Brisbane's west - forced down to lower flight levels by controlled air space,d I had a rough few minutes befor I could climb again to smooth air - no real problem and something for future conversations. 

 In short turbulence impacts on all aircraft, great & small. It does not usually involve the whole flight. It can be managed in most situations by a no go/go decision, slowing the aircraft for the necessary period of exposure and understanding the flight limitations & characteristics of your aircraft .

 

 

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3 hours ago, SplitS said:

I second the Jabiru J230 these are fantastic aircraft.

Number 2 would be a J160 or J170.

They are tough and reliable with easy to get parts if you do have a problem.

If you want to be stuck somewhere with something like a coolant leak and hard to get part's fly some imported thing (good luck with that).

If your inference is that Rotax 9 series engines are unreliable or that parts are hard to get, you are ,in the words of the immortal Donald, spreading" Fake News" (in Au we are usually more direct with references to words emanating from the anal region)

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The J230 has a huge baggage area and big wing tanks, but can you use if for long cross country with 2 people?

BEW 370kg

MTOW 600kg

Usable load 230kg

2 Passengers - say 150kg, 

Baggage -12 kg This seems light for what you have listed, my lightweight hiking camping gear (tent, 2xsleeping bags, 2xmats) is 7.5kg , without any personal gear, water, tie downs etc

Load capacity left is only 68kg for fuel = 94Lt, equals 3.4hrs with 0.5hrs reserve. at 120knots range of 408nm

 

I think you are going to get many varied responses, as we all fly different aircraft.

 

I'll plug the Sportstar, as that's what i've got.

BEW 321kg

MTOW 575kg

Max baggage 25kg

120L fuel capacity

100knots at 18lt/hour.

which by comparison gives

 

Usable load 254kg

2 Passengers - say 150kg, 

Baggage -25 kg 

Load capacity left is 79kg for fuel = 109Lt, equals 5.6hrs with 0.5hrs reserve. or 560nm

 

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I suspect that a round Australians coastline (or any long trip away from home) will involve considerations like:

 

What is the comfortable range of the aircraft at a reasonable (to you) cruise speed.

This then leads to planing fuel stops/availability of fuel

Load carrying capacity, which will then lead to: fuel. luggage & Pax computations.

If away long enough - servicing requirements? How many hours between oil changes, do  you carry the necessary tools & materials or will you plan a stop where these may be available through a friend/service provider

Communications:  options might be VHF/UHF/phone/ back up radio/ PLB, etc if going costal all the way marine band might come in useful

Emergency/Survival gear: First aid, water, concentrated rations, shelter, flotation

Navigation equipment - maps ? GPS? etc and redundancy of same

Sufficient funds not only for food & accommodation but in an emergency extraction

 

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2 hours ago, skippydiesel said:

Hi M6

 

Va - Designed maneuvering speed - this is the max speed at which full defection (to the "stops") of any single flight control can be made without negative impact on the aircraft structure. In most instances this is a limitation for aerobatic/fighter aircraft and has little relevance for normal flight operations.

Vra - Rough air (turbulence) penetration speed - this is an air speed that should concern every pilot and should be known for the aircraft under their control. It is common for this airspeed to be higher than Va, as its instigation and impacts are calculated differently (something that is beyond my puny brain) and involve the capacity of the pilot to make the decision to slow the aircraft.

 

 Unfortunately "free lunches" are a rare, if not rarer than "hens teeth", this is especially so in aviation.

 

If you want the flight envelope like the ATEC range,  that our team is happy to demonstrate, you will have a  wing that will be more sensitive to turbulence than an other aircraft that may have a stall say in the low 40 knot range and be less sensitive to turbulence. For a given horse power, if you accept the higher stall you will also be accepting longer take off/landing role, less survivable forced landing and quite possibly higher fuel burn.

 

Turbulence should be part of the environment that a good pilot "manages". I fly an old ATEC Zephyr, not quite the flight envelope of the Faeta's, but similar enough to have an opinion.

I probably slow to Vra half a dozen times in any 12 month period and then only for that section of the flight where turbulence is apparent. In summer (Sydney Basin) this is usually below 5-7k ft (sometimes even lower). If the forecast is for rough air 0-10,000 ft, I probably wont fly unless I feel I must, then I just grit my teeth , put up with it and fly accordingly.

My last, memorable, turbulence event was on  summer  ( temps in low 40C) flight taking me to Brisbane's west - forced down to lower flight levels by controlled air space,d I had a rough few minutes befor I could climb again to smooth air - no real problem and something for future conversations. 

 In short turbulence impacts on all aircraft, great & small. It does not usually involve the whole flight. It can be managed in most situations by a no go/go decision, slowing the aircraft for the necessary period of exposure and understanding the flight limitations & characteristics of your aircraft .

 

 

“No free lunch” was pretty much what I was getting at...Dealers always tell you how fast it goes, but they go quiet when asked about turbulence speeds. You pay an awful lot of money to go fast and then find you are effectively limited to much lower speeds or risk folding your wings. 
there are many cheaper aircraft that have a lower cruise speed , but similar turbulence penetration speeds to the flash Euro stuff. 

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I'm going for fun to see the sights and people and my other half will not fly without trolley service and inflight movies so I am flying a two seater solo ...

I'm going in my EclipsR.  Takes off and lands in 150m in any temp or altitude I'll face, it carries me, 20kg of luggage, the two person tent and airmattress, inflating life vest, the remote area survival kit and it holds 110L usable with 'Fred' the second tank strapped into the back seat and I can take all 110L and remain under MTOW. 

 

I'm then fine with taking 12 mnths to wander around in the setup.  Yes I will be seeing the world pass by at 60kt in an open cockpit but I can appreciate it more at that speed and I can fly 10 hrs nil reserve between refills so can wander around without much concern of needing to always refuel when I land.  Its very relaxing just wanding around looking at things.  Oh and the Avmap screams at me if I wander too close to bits of airspace I am not supposed to wander through so all good there.

 

I know this is achievable as I have taken this set up out and just wandered around from strip to strip for weeks of holiday at a time and it works.  Add the passport and a permission leave OZ and in a year I think I could get pretty much around the world and really enjoy it.

 

And I'd not take a modern fast RAAus aircraft as repairs and maintnenace is a pain in the butt when you are touring - simple pinned tube airframes with minimal systems are well suited to unsupported outback/remote trips.  Last thing you want to be doing on a touring holiday is organising or doing a major service on an airframe/engine.

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Australia is NOT continental Europe, where there's dealers everywhere.. Protecting your "Jigger" on the ground is an an issue and the environment is harsh on US too. I reckon in a few places you wouldn't last half a day without water. (and shade). Nev

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Disclaimer: I have about 90 hours. On the other hand, I have bought my aircraft for touring and exploring the desert so have given it some thought. I think that if you want to see the sights, you are better off with a high-wing aircraft. If you want to avoid misery half the year, avoid something with a bubble canopy. Your aircraft will not be hangered for the 12 months. I was not game to get a composite aircraft because I did not know what the sun would do to it, so I was keen on getting something that was not composite. I suspect that if you are touring, you will want the ability to land on short, rough, soft fields. I have not landed there, but, for example there is a strip to the north of Fraser Island that I would not want to take a plane with small wheels. I needed tricycle undercarriage because I am inexperienced. That left aluminium, high wing aircraft large wheels.

 

The Foxbat is mostly aluminium, but the control surfaces are fabric and the cowel is fiberglass. That is what I ended up getting. The Zenith is a kit plane. I might have got a Savannah but I did not fit. Even if I did fit, the cabin would have been much smaller than the Foxbat, which is roomy and has excellent visibility. The Brumby did not have enough useful load, and a review in Australian Flying said it lacked rudder authority (!) IIRC, the SuperSTOL, Highlander and Hornet are all tricycle gear, and the Hornet is very slow.

 

There are lots of Foxbats in Australia, and the support from Foxbat Australia is excellent. They use them on cattle stations a lot. Foxbats cruise at 90 kts. There is the Vixxen which is much faster and is more expensive, but is not approved for use with big tyres like can be used on the Foxbat. IIRC, they are 6 x 6.00. I have been told that if you put big wheels on a Vixxen, it ends up no faster than a Foxbat. There is an older version of the Foxbat with a lower MTOW that is much less expensive and would be okay for flying alone. Eurofoxes are fabric and smaller inside that the Foxbat; they need attention to the rudder when flying but have a very benign stall. There are other planes that are older relatives of the ICP Savannah and look a bit like it. 

 

I would not emphasise speed in my purchase decision. If you have a fast plane, there will be lots of places you cannot get to at all because of the landing strips, and you will be wondering if your plane will be able to handle a particular strip.

 

Aircraft Reference
SuperSTOL wikipedia.Just_Superstol
  Flyingmag.com
   
   
Highlander www.justaircraft. com
   
   
Zenigth CH 750 zenithair.com WITH CINTINENTAL O-200
  therefore with 912S 
   
   
Foxbat A22LS Kelpie  foxbat.com.au (112L)
  http://www.hdfc.com.au/foxbat-a22ls
   
   
AAK Hornet STOL wikipedia
   
   
   
ICP Savannah wikipeia (jab) 
  fly-buylsa.com
   
   
CH 701 zenithair.com  (912s)
Summit 2 (50kph)  summitaerosports.com
Eurofox K2 and K3 http://www.aerotrek.aero 
Kitfox SS7  

http://www.kitfoxaircraft.com

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, facthunter said:

Australia is NOT continental Europe, where there's dealers everywhere.. Protecting your "Jigger" on the ground is an an issue and the environment is harsh on US too. I reckon in a few places you wouldn't last half a day without water. (and shade). Nev

Yes. Some people have posted here about what survival kits they would carry. The survival kit that you should carry for remote areas is very simple. a) Sat phone, b) EPIRB (or whatever the correct acronym is), and c) as much water as you can carry, say 10 L per person.

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38 minutes ago, APenNameAndThatA said:

Yes. Some people have posted here about what survival kits they would carry. The survival kit that you should carry for remote areas is very simple. a) Sat phone, b) EPIRB (or whatever the correct acronym is), and c) as much water as you can carry, say 10 L per person.

Just for a refresher on the legal requirements under the CAO's - your two place RAAus registered aircraft HAS to carry either an airframe fitted ELT or an personal locator for any flight that is greater than 50 miles from take-off point of that flight is not in accordance with the CAO and you are liable to have a very horrid seried of questions to answer if found or something goes wrong ... so item b) is pretty much a given for ALL aircraft going on an around the country flight legally ... unless you intend dropping into a handy paddock every 49 miles along the way ... and that's just too much hassle 😀

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We’ve done a full lap coastal, and a top end half lap. A jab 160 can be packed to the ROOF, has great legs, cumfy. Would do it again in a blink. Have only encountered jabs doing the same epic trips ( RAA ) he jab handles shyte great, handles ruff strips. Downside.......you want to do it again and again. Buried in there is 2x10L fuel,10L water, tent,air beds,bedding,clothes,cooker,food plus plus. ( 631 kg ) and it flew beautifully. ( took a while to get off the ground tho ) Rang a chap to get advice re “that weight” he said “no probs at all”.... so there you go. The specs are grossly under estimated.

0F563907-0EE7-4C85-AA87-DC2C86ABD3E3.jpeg

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I have no real experience of flying a Jab, or any other RAAus plane that I would consider suitable. From that low base I would consider the Jab to be well worth considering. It is OK performance wise and also comfort wise. It is high wing and provides reasonable shade for the pilot and crew. Another I would consider would be the Savannah, with similar properties, but slower. A lot of the plastic fantastics don't appeal because they have little shade for the pilot. My choice of high wing is based on years of living in the hotter parts of the country and while I mainly fly low wing, they are not the best for sunny conditions.

Jabiru are tough, I have seen them tyrned over and the nose wheel ripped off and been back flying very quickly.

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15 minutes ago, RossK said:

631kg in a 540kg rated plane is something i would not admit to on a public forum.🤐

Not something I would do either 😬

“You wouldn’t do”....i have, would do again. The jabs are way under specked. I have no problems openly admitting that. My confirmation person said “ if it gets off the ground it will fly no problems ) and it did. Takeoff took longer, climb was slower, nothing else changed. Boo Hoo as hard as you like, doesn’t bother me. The fact remains, jabs are under specked. “Rules” ......we are all guilty of breaking those in life’s journey

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5 minutes ago, Russ said:

“You wouldn’t do”....i have, would do again. The jabs are way under specked. I have no problems openly admitting that. My confirmation person said “ if it gets off the ground it will fly no problems ) and it did.

Where does that put the centre of gravity? That is even more important than the overall weight.

 

Your "confirmation person" doesn't sound like someone who gives good advice.

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Overloading structurally is a trap as the margins on SOME designs is not there in the original design to take risks. With a Murphy rebel or some jabiru's that is not the case if you are under the top weight allowed and your "variant" isn't lightened in some way. I prefer my planes to be over strong with some of the situations we encounter these days with turbulence etc. Over loading is life of structure reducing and the load able to be safely carried as planes age, reduces. Aerobatic planes have more required inspections  and a "G" meter fitted and lower life of spars etc. SOME U/L's would have a quite low airframe life whereas  some well built stuff will do 70,000 hours and still come up OK after inspection and Non destructive testing. Nev

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5 hours ago, M61A1 said:

“No free lunch” was pretty much what I was getting at...Dealers always tell you how fast it goes, but they go quiet when asked about turbulence speeds. You pay an awful lot of money to go fast and then find you are effectively limited to much lower speeds or risk folding your wings. 
there are many cheaper aircraft that have a lower cruise speed , but similar turbulence penetration speeds to the flash Euro stuff. 

Maaaaaaate! is that relay what you took from my message or are you just knocking for the sake of it ?

 

 When was the last time you a conducted decent X country a flight where you had turbulence all the way ? or even for more than a small percentage of the duration?

 

My ATEC will almost certainly land shorter, cruse faster & quieter, have a quicker trip time on less fuel/oil than most other aircraft (in its weight range) even if I have to slow on decent or for a short time in cruise, to handle a little turbulence.

 

Oh! and my "flash  Euro"  an early Zephyr, has wood & fabric wings/control surfaces, mated to a bog standard fiberglass fuselage - so much for "flash" although I do think she is cute.

 

The reality is the ATEC aircraft (whatever the construction material) use very efficient airofoil's  mated to effective flaps connected to a low drag fuselage - they perform very well, better than most over a wide flight envelope - its called good design.

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11 hours ago, SplitS said:

I second the Jabiru J230 these are fantastic aircraft.

Number 2 would be a J160 or J170.

They are tough and reliable with easy to get parts if you do have a problem.

If you want to be stuck somewhere with something like a coolant leak and hard to get part's fly some imported thing (good luck with that).

Jabiru's are good when its not too hot to fly....

For me, I'll take the other one, and fly anytime I want.....

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