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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:08 am 
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Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE
The A220/240 seems to fulfill my requirements for an LSA: relatively low cost, simple, high wing for good visibility, decent cruise speed, folding wings, factory-built certification for instruction and hiring, classic lines and, like all real air machines, sticks instead of steering wheels! :wink:

Any experience with these? The Aerotrek website is very professional and most impressive, although this alone doesn't necessarily make for a great product. I like the fact that the company has been around for a while with a tried and tested design.

I'm looking forward to climbing all over one (and many other LSAs) at Sun n Fun next month!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:23 pm 
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Location: fairfax, va
Looks enticing, Ham. I have to admit, I haven't researched this one much. Seems like it might make a good trainer with the low stall speed. Also, repairs should be cheaper than for the aluminum skin planes. Folding wings is a plus as is the price tag. I was trying to find the EAA site that tells you how many are currently in the US (along with cousin Eurofox), but have lost track of it. Also haven't seen any reviews on landing characteristics ( a biggie with us students!).

NTSB accident database lists 3 Eurofox minor accidents - all apparently related to pilot error on takeoff or landing. I will be curious to see what others have to say.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:47 pm 
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Looks like a better (e.g. more established and more refined) LSA in the class of X-Air LS. It's faster and carries somewhat more payload. And it's about 10 grand more expensive, depending on the options of course. I would cross-shop the two.

Update: Regarding landings, Dan Johnson had this to say, back in 2005:

Quote:
When I first flew the EuroFox at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh from the ultralight/lightplane strip, I didn’t slow down enough to set the EuroFox down comfortably. As we ate up the strip’s length, I told Allistair I thought I should go around. Traffic was light on the normally busy strip, so Allistair quickly agreed. The problem isn’t the EuroFox;the design has a respectable 14-to-1 glide at 60 mph. But the southeast runway in the Ultralight area requires that you make a dogleg turn to final. Because you also approach over a few trees and a roadway, I’d stayed too high and flown too fast. After that first attempt, I had quite a good landing, and we never had to use the powerful brakes.

When you slow it down, using flaps and a good approach speed, the EuroFox can deliver a short landing.The best touchdowns come from full-stall landings where the nose is rather high. A tailskid protects the rudder from damage on such steep deck-angle landings, which are easy to do in this tri-gear aircraft.

Dean Wilson’s Avid design, which led to the Kitfox and derivatives like the EuroFox, all exhibit lively handing that some feel is “too light.” Keeping the ball centered perfectly requires time in the EuroFox, but it is noticeably easier than the Kitfox IV I last flew. Light handling is something to which most pilots will easily adapt. And it will train new pilots well, I believe. But some ultralight pilots who are accustomed to more relaxed controls could be initially surprised by the EuroFox’s quick response and rapid roll rate.


Woa, 14:1 glide. That's slippery.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:03 am 
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On the Aerotrek website, I am seeing a 10:1 glide ratio for the 220-240. Mybe some design differences from the Eurofox?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 3:27 pm 
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zaitcev wrote:
Woa, 14:1 glide. That's slippery.


Fly my Lightning sometime, 17:1 glide!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:47 am 
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Location: Jacksonville, FL
Ham, a couple of add'l thoughts for you to mull...

-- 300 completed a/c in 20 years is 15 per year or ~1/month...so the plane isn't so much 'factory built' as it is 'small shop' built. Will that nose strut, which broke when the nose wheel hit a gopher hole, be available next year? Will the shop be there next year? (Let's not forget: S-LSA's can only be repaired with mfgr. (not distributor) approved parts).
-- looks like there is a single U.S. distributor (tho' two U.S. retailers) and, based on the #s above, they are operating on a thin profit margin. How quickly can that spare nose strut be delivered, and at what cost? How long is that distributor going to find this product to be worth advertising/marketing/parts ordering? Who will be selling Aeroteks in 5 years?
-- Just about 20 years ago, while attending Sun 'n Fun for the first time, there was this dueling dance between 'the' two popular kit designs: Kitfox and Avid Flyer. They were painted Sublime Lime Green and Passionate Purple, displayed tuck 'n roll upholstery, and many another gimmick to distinguish one from the other. They were the darlings of the dance, and seemed to leap off the (ultralight) runway. And they were somewhat twitchy, certainlyslow, light on any windy day and very simple/cheap-to-build planes. That design (the origins of which later occupied a lot of lawyers until everything went TU) is the basis for the Aerotek today. For the business case you are working from, is this the a/c that will compete with modern LSA's that are all but claimed to be space ships?
-- As you know more than most here, the U.S. peso is (and has been for some years now) distressingly weak against all other modern currencies. (Geez, I'm even finding the Aussie $ is on par with the USD now - unbelievable!) Sadly there's virtually no logic that suggests it's going to be substantially different for quite some time to come. So all repair parts will be priced off the Euro by 2013 - and the Koruna all but floats on the Euro today - so that needs to be considered, as well. The Aerotrek's 240 price, out the door, is going to be ~ $82K USD or probably a bit more. That's with the 80 hp Rotax, a DG (so the base Dynon EFIS) and tax. So one way to look at that cost, coupled with its hourly op cost, is to ask what current a/c (Part 23 or S-LSA) can be purchased operated for flight instruction at less cost. I think you'll find a lot of a/c fit into that category.

None of the above says this a/c is a bad choice. But if the business model to which you are trying to fit this a/c is a combo of flight instruction, hourly rental and (when not working) pleasure flying, all the above issues seem to be relevant.

Jack

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:17 am 
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Good points, Jack. There's some great info in there to consider.

Another idea I'm considering is to partner up with another instructor and buy two SLSAs between us. It seems to solve a lot of potential issues (one aircraft down for maintenance, one instructor on vacation (me!), shared resources, etc).

Based on my proposed business model, which SLSAs at a lower cost fit into that category?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:14 am 
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Location: noble, IL USA
When you get to Sun n Fun make sure you sit in all the airplanes you are considering, and some that you are not. Do you have someone going to the show with you? Sit in the airplanes together. If not find someone in the 5'10" to 6' height and 220-230 to sit in the airplane with you. Make sure you are in a cofortable teaching atmosphere. You and the students need to be comfortable. Tom


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:36 am 
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Location: minnesota
3Dreaming wrote:
When you get to Sun n Fun make sure you sit in all the airplanes you are considering, and some that you are not. Do you have someone going to the show with you? Sit in the airplanes together. If not find someone in the 5'10" to 6' height and 220-230 to sit in the airplane with you. Make sure you are in a cofortable teaching atmosphere. You and the students need to be comfortable. Tom


This is very true. I looked at several planes online that in real life were not what I hoped for.

Unfortunately there is a reason the most expensive planes are the most popular.

Jake


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:31 pm 
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There are enough factors to consider when contemplating buying an LSA for personal use, and obviously more to consider if the aircraft is going to be used for training and/or rental.

For those instructing and/or renting out your own LSA, what were your most important purchasing considerations? Ruggedness? Fancy hi-tech glass cockpit? Fuel economy? Overall purchase cost? Availability of parts? Ease of flight? Country of manufacture? Safety record?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 4:50 pm 
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Ham, I think it would be helpful for you to narrow your criteria. First, because most of your research needs to precede SnF. If yours is a normal experience, your time at SnF will be far more fleeting than you expect. There is just gobs of things to see (I challenge you to not be captured for a while at the Dynon booth, looking at/playing with their SkyView system <g>) and the a/c models of interest to you will, inevitably, be surrounded by tire kickers and seriously interested pilots while the exhibitor(s) will be pestered by many showgo'ers who simply want to 'talk flying' (much to the exhibitor's frustration). Just getting into a given model's cockpit (a very good suggestion) can be time-consuming and patience-trying.

Another reason you need to wrap up most of your research ahead of SnF is that you need to sort out demo flight opportunities sooner rather than later. (Skype will be your friend while in UAE). There are a long list of demo flight-related issues that, depending on the mfgr, can arise...and so talking with the mfgrs/distributors of interest to you ahead of time will allow you to anticipate how demo flights can be scheduled. (Some will do demos at nearby Plant City - before, during and/or after SnF. Some will have a 2nd a/c at the show, doing demo flights...while others will have one a/c stuck in place at the exhibit. Do you need your pilot license? (Some request to see your FAA medical ticket). What criteria will they use to allow a demo flight - this can be very loosely administered or they can be more demanding. (You have a very convincing story to tell...but it's knowing to whom and when to tell it that makes the research necessary. Showing up at the booth mid-morning, I think you'll find that day's demo flights all booked). And after all, how can you seriously consider any a/c without putting hand on stick?

For the sake of challenging and considering them, here is a straw man of criteria I'd suggest you consider. Fewer are better than more, because you'll otherwise limit your choices too much...and let's face it, there are likely multiple a/c that can fit the mission so, at purchase time, it may well be one mfgr's or distributor's painful need to move a given a/c that makes the choice financially unbeatable. Multiple final choices allows you to make this crummy economy work in your favor.
-- Rotax powered (just about a 'given' anyway, unless your potential partner is an A&P)
-- Tri-gear (for ease of instruction and lower insurance premiums)
-- Side X Side seating (for far better instruction)
-- Initially omit the folding wing criterion, because it reduces your possible choices significantly (e.g. bydanjohnson.com's PlaneFinder search engine, with the above three criteria produces 20 possible a/c but with folding wings only 4 - see http://www.bydanjohnson.com/index.cfm?b=2&m=4 ) Perhaps this can be a deciding factor at the time of purchase.
-- Mfgr. has been building microlights (European term) or U/L a/c for 5+ years. An arbitrary number, yes...but if you read the FAA LSA Survey results, you'll find numerous LSA mfgrs have very limited manufacturing experience, and this also raises the question of how likely those newer businesses are to remain in operation. What do you do if needing an a/c part for an S-LSA a/c when the U.S. distributor or U.S. manufacturer is no longer on the scene? Look e.g. at Rans' U.S. built S6 - see http://www.rans.com/_RTF/S-6LSmain2.htm just for the sake of a counterpoint to a/c like the Eurotrek. Perhaps 2000 flying a/c, manufactured for over 20 years, and built by a company that's been in operation even longer.
-- Consider used S-LSA a/c. The rule has been around long enough that you can find used models of almost all these a/c now...including BTW used models being hawked at Sebring's LSA show by flight schools (which is some sobering news, to be sure).

Beyond this, add criteria carefully...as it's better to have lots of choices when 'doing a deal' among distributors/retailers/mfgrs.

Personally, I think you would be enormously complicating your business (and your business plan) to add a partner. This would be true even if the person was a long-standing and trustworthy friend. It would raise a series of potential complications if it was someone you didn't know intimately. This is of course just an opinion uninformed by the specifics that would exist. But sad to say, many many people seek involvement in aviation-related businesses not because they are good at business but simply because they like the setting.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:49 pm 
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Jack Tyler wrote:
Ham, a couple of add'l thoughts for you to mull...

-- 300 completed a/c in 20 years is 15 per year or ~1/month...so the plane isn't so much 'factory built' as it is 'small shop' built. Will that nose strut, which broke when the nose wheel hit a gopher hole, be available next year? Will the shop be there next year? (Let's not forget: S-LSA's can only be repaired with mfgr. (not distributor) approved parts).
-- looks like there is a single U.S. distributor (tho' two U.S. retailers) and, based on the #s above, they are operating on a thin profit margin. How quickly can that spare nose strut be delivered, and at what cost? How long is that distributor going to find this product to be worth advertising/marketing/parts ordering? Who will be selling Aeroteks in 5 years?


I own a 2007 model, and love it.

Its over "300 built" now, but yes, the factory is small. The fact that they've been built for 20 years is a pretty good indication that they're not going out of business any time soon.

There is only one distributor, and only one (the same person) "retailer" in the USA (not two).

Personally, I don't need all that fancy glass-panel stuff that could drive the price way up. About the only thing I would suggest to buyers, is to upgrade to the 100 hp engine. Radio, transponder too, if desired. One doesn't need to splurge on an $80K airplane, unless you just have to have all the doo-dads on it.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:10 am 
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Jack Tyler wrote:
-- Rotax powered (just about a 'given' anyway, unless your potential partner is an A&P)

No love for Continental huh


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 12:53 pm 
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Hambone wrote:
There are enough factors to consider when contemplating buying an LSA for personal use, and obviously more to consider if the aircraft is going to be used for training and/or rental.

For those instructing and/or renting out your own LSA, what were your most important purchasing considerations? Ruggedness? Fancy hi-tech glass cockpit? Fuel economy? Overall purchase cost? Availability of parts? Ease of flight? Country of manufacture? Safety record?


I use a certain brand airplane because I am a dealer for that aircraft. When I became a dealer I was not looking to do so, but I was looking for an airplane for a customer. He wanted good cruise speed, good useful load, long range, and good baggage space. He didn't want to wait 3-4 months on an airplane, so in country inventory was a must. Long story short I became a dealer because of him. Now that I am a dealer and operating an airplane parts are a big deal for me and my customers. Down time waiting on parts from across the pond is no good, so a big inventory of parts state side is a must. One other thing is if something gets damaged how long does it take to get repair procedures from thr factory. I've heard some horor stories about big delays with airplanes being down 3-4 moths waiting on parts and procedures.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:06 pm 
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It's an excellent point 3Dreaming makes about parts availability. This is why, when Piper bailed out on their master distributor agreement for the Sport Cruiser, the existing regional distributors made a large parts order from the factory part of their first follow-up announcement. This is also one reason why a small 1 plane/month shop is relevant. They are very unlikely to have a large inventory of metal parts, fiberglass fairings and such. For comparison's sake, take the video tour of the RV factory in Oregon and note the massive inventory of parts. (You can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qt7m4XxJwg ). Delivering one of their complete kits & plans sets requires ~2 months lead time...but getting a skin & rib after a bird strike is a 'next day' affair).

"No love for Continental huh?"
It isn't the engine but rather the cost associated with maintaining it that makes a Rotax desirable for Ham's needs. After a 3-day Rotax seminar, along with a weekend LSA Repairman seminar, Ham can do his own annual inspections and all regular servicing of his engine. That becomes a significant cost savings over paying an A&P his/her hourly wage. Also, engine parts for the Rotax should be less costly (despite the burden of being priced in Euros and needing to be shipped from Europe) because they lack the cost of an FAA mandated parts approval process.

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