SPA Panther LSA kit

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foresterpoole
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SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby foresterpoole » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:55 pm

Anyone know anything about this kit and/or Corvair engines? I ran across it while looking into a single seat low wing LSA, looks pretty sweet and it appears it has a tri-gear option.
Ed

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MrMorden
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby MrMorden » Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:16 am

foresterpoole wrote:Anyone know anything about this kit and/or Corvair engines? I ran across it while looking into a single seat low wing LSA, looks pretty sweet and it appears it has a tri-gear option.


It's a nice airplane, I met them at Oshkosh. Dan Weseman (sp?) is a big Corvair guy and built one of the first Sonex Corvair conversions before starting the Panther project. The Panther is +6/-3 aerobatic, and nicely built. Only downside is single seat and not a great traveling airplane. For having fun it would be hard to beat, it looks like a little Extra 300. I'd build it tailwheel and get the endorsement.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

foresterpoole
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby foresterpoole » Tue Feb 21, 2017 2:07 pm

Thanks for the info. After getting a bit discouraged trying to find financing I figure I would consider building a kit I can afford. I'll be flying alone most of the time so that's not a big deal, I can always rent the Technam if I need more room and it appears they have a 2 seater in the works so I might hold out for that. I did not know much about Corvair engines, I am also wondering if they have a builder assist...
Ed

3Dreaming
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby 3Dreaming » Tue Feb 21, 2017 3:20 pm

I'll throw my 2 cents out there. I am not a big fan of auto engine conversions for aircraft.

Wm.Ince
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby Wm.Ince » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:46 pm

3Dreaming wrote:. . . "I am not a big fan of auto engine conversions for aircraft." . . .

For what it's worth, niether am I.
As a current owner/operator, I think the Rotax 912 series engine, pound for pound, is a hard engine to beat. The sucker is almost bullet proof, if well taken care of.
Three years ago, an accomplished aviation mechanic once told me, "the Rotax 912 is to aviation, what the Honda 750 was to motorcycles."
That told me a lot about performance, reliability and economy of operation.
That mechanic was right.
Bill Ince
CTSW
Retired Heavy Equipment Operator

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MrMorden
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby MrMorden » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:56 pm

The Panther can also be built with a Rotax, Jabiru, or even a Lycoming 0-320 (not LSA at that point). There might be other options I can't recall.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

3Dreaming
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby 3Dreaming » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:24 pm

MrMorden wrote:The Panther can also be built with a Rotax, Jabiru, or even a Lycoming 0-320 (not LSA at that point). There might be other options I can't recall.


Having a Lycoming 0-320 in its self wouldn't make it ineligible for being a LSA.

foresterpoole
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby foresterpoole » Tue Feb 21, 2017 7:31 pm

I thought Corvair was just the engine name. I had no idea it came out of an actual Corvair! OK I'll date myself, my Mom drove one in college, as she tells it, not that great of a car, rear engine made it horrible in the winter.
Ed

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FastEddieB
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby FastEddieB » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:01 pm

OK, I'll go ahead and date myself...

I drove prescription delivery in a Corvair with a stylized mortar and pestle on the roof.

Summit Hill Pharmacy in Silver Spring, Maryland in the 1960's.

Though unsafe at any speed, I survived!
Fast Eddie B.
Sky Arrow 600 E-LSA • N467SA
FastEddieB@mac.com

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MrMorden
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby MrMorden » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:05 pm

3Dreaming wrote:
MrMorden wrote:The Panther can also be built with a Rotax, Jabiru, or even a Lycoming 0-320 (not LSA at that point). There might be other options I can't recall.


Having a Lycoming 0-320 in its self wouldn't make it ineligible for being a LSA.


Performance and weight do.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

foresterpoole
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby foresterpoole » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:19 pm

OK, next follow-up question since this has some promise and the wife just gave me the green light (Yea I just about fell out of my chair and choked when she said it was a "great idea"):
For those of you who have undertaken projects such as this how much "special" skill does it take? I'll give you some things I've done in the past as examples of my current skill set and you tell me if I'll bite off more than I could chew. I've rewired boats (electronics like depth-finders), conducted basic maintenance on 2 and 4 stroke outboards as well as small tractors, installed/rewired household light fixtures and a thermostat, fabricated counter tops for my house from wood, built a custom design fence around my house from wood and prefabricated metal panels, changed oil/filter, plugs, wires, rotor/distributor on my vehicles, and done some "light" body work on trailers. By light I mean mostly bolting fenders, minor shaping and filler work. I currently don't know how to weld very well, but my brother (the industrial engineer) is a certified welder, what that means I have no idea, but I guess he's good at it if needed because if there is aluminum welding involved I hear that's tricky. I'd probably consult the local EAA chapter, but I know the guy that's the head honcho, he worked (retired) from the company I work for and he is not the most personable type plus after he crashed his gyrocopter the second time and had an extended stay in the hospital I don't think I trust his judgement.

I'm looking at the "pre-build" options which have prefabricated spars and tanks and purchasing the optional hardware kits and brakes since I don't have very good local outlets for aircraft parts. Since I will be in Florida visiting my wife's family later on this year I might stop in to see them, they are right on the way from Jacksonville to Patrick AFB.
Ed

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MrMorden
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby MrMorden » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:01 pm

foresterpoole wrote:OK, next follow-up question since this has some promise and the wife just gave me the green light (Yea I just about fell out of my chair and choked when she said it was a "great idea"):
For those of you who have undertaken projects such as this how much "special" skill does it take?


I built about half of a Sonex kit (the tail and the complete fuselage), having had zero skills in metalwork or anything related to airplane building. I went slow and developed the skills as I went, it really was not a problem. I even got a lot of compliments from other builders on the quality of the work.

Advice #1: If the kit maker has a builder workshop or seminar, GO TO IT. Even if it's halfway across the country and expensive. You will learn a lot of information about the airplane type, design philosophy, and how to build parts for it.

Advice #2: Stick to the "script". Build things exactly as the plans or build manual say to do it, unless the manufacturer says to do something different. If you are not sure about something, wait and ask the manufacturer's builder support. I sucks to ruin a part or a major assembly because you were "kind of sure" how to do it and were wrong. If it's not obvious what you should do, stop and ask.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

pjdavis
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Re: SPA Panther LSA kit

Postby pjdavis » Wed Mar 08, 2017 7:23 pm

Hi Ed,

5.5 years a go I built a 65 shelby Cobra Replica. The kit came complete with all the parts excluding engine, transmission and rear end. I built the car from a bare frame up. Every part was installed by me, every nut and bolt, every wire drawn and/or connect by me. All body working, blocking, priming, painting (2 stage) wet sanding and buffing was done by me. Never did anything like that before. So when I began my flying lesson my intention was to build an airplane. I have since come to reality with 3 bad disks, 1 back surgery and at the age of 60. I decided it may not be as enthusiastic as the Cobra. My choice was the Arion Lighting.

The 1st thing I would determine is how many of the airplanes are out their flying. Is there a good sized builders network/forum. Most important the build manual and readily available technical support from the manufacturer. Parts included in the kit - need to fabricate parts, tools and equipment required. Cost of the tools and equipment. The total build for my car was close was just over $40,000.00 + $5,000 + for tools and equipment. Another $2,000.00 for paint and materials. Time required - I was lucky - I own my business - so I could always go home early and work in the garage. I took my 10 months to get the car tagged and 6 months to complete body work and paint. I was lucky as Factory Five has a huge forum and and an excellent build manual. I have reviewed their build manual - I guess it was okay - my thought was you would need to know how and airplane is constructed before starting. With the manual for my car is was just a matter of following step by step. But still needed the forum for most of my questions. That said - I found I don't enjoy driving the car as much as I though I would - to me the build was the adventure. In the long run I could have bought the car used with less than 10,000 miles for about $35,000.00.

If I not mistaken the Panther does not have airplanes out there except for a few prototypes? The Arion Lightning seems to be a good build for the $$$. Better yet they are advertising a complete (with mid range avionics, etc) brand new at $100,000.00. The big question is - do you want to spend the next 1.5 years + building or flying.

PJ


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