AERO 2010's Top Ten
Europe’s leading GA trade show does not disappoint
By Kent Misegades, EAA 520919
April 15, 2010 — AERO Expo 2010 at Friedrichshafen, Germany, provided an overwhelming number of new, innovative aviation products, surely reinforcing it as Europe’s best general aviation trade show. Correspondent Kent Misegades was hard-pressed to see everything amongst the more than 500 exhibits during the four-day show held April 8-11. The following “Top Ten” list (in no particular order) includes a wide range of products, including light-sport aircraft, kitplanes, new production airplanes, electric propulsion, rotorcraft, and powerplants. Some will make it across the pond in the coming year, while others will likely stay in Europe for various reasons. Others may not even survive in this rapidly developing, highly competitive global market, but all demonstrate the unlimited creativity found among those around the world who pursue their passion for flight.
- DynAero TwinR (Darois, France, www.dynaircraft.com) - Borrowing heavily from the proven aerodynamics and all-carbon structure of his four-place MCR-4S kitplane, the French designer Christophe Robin (whose father Pierre created the popular DR series of Robins) debuted his new twin-Rotax 912 powered TwinR at AERO 2010. Burning only 9 gph of 100LL or Mogas, the TwinR will cruise at 180 kts, has a useful load of 1,100+ lbs, and range of 1,000 nm. With a wingspan of 30ft, 3in and height of 6ft 3in, the aircraft will fit into a standard T-hangar. While the TwinR is available now only as a kit, DynAero is preparing for series production in the coming year. Also displayed were samples of composite components using natural cork as a substitute for PVC foam board, as well as seating upholstery made from the material. AeroCork (Ponte de Sor, Portugal, www.aerocork.com) is the outcome of DynAero’s participation in a joint venture with cork producers in Portugal, where the company produces the aircraft.
- PC-Aero Elektra One (Landsberg am Lech, Germany, www.pc-aero.de)—Noted German sport aircraft designer Calin Gologan presented his much-anticipated Elektra One mockup, a serious contender for the $1.5m NASA/CAFE Green Flight Challenge 2011. Employing the latest composite materials and methods of light aircraft design, advanced high-efficiency brushless electric motors, controllers, batteries and propellers, the single-place Elektra One is projected to cruise at 100 mph while consuming only 17 kWh of its batteries’ energy, equating to a fuel consumption of 0.5 gph. With an empty weight (including battery) of 250 pounds, the Elektra One will qualify under Germany’s new 120 kg light sport aircraft category that requires no flight medical. The aircraft is projected to carry a 6ft pilot weighing 190 pounds for three hours on a single charge. The Elektra One is the first of a series of electric aircraft envisioned by Gologan, to include two- and four-place ships, an aerobatic single-seat version, as well as a solar-powered motorglider. These would be based at his Green Village Airfield, where 20 square meters of solar panels on the roof of a single hangar housing three such aircraft would generate enough power in southern Germany to allow one hundred hours flying time per aircraft each year. The total hourly costs using today’s technology would be 25 percent less than for a conventional Rotax-powered LSA, with future cost reductions expected given the rapid progress being made in electric propulsion systems, even assuming reductions in government subsidies currently needed to make solar power competitive. Calin Gologan will participate in EAA’s special symposium on electric-powered flight planned for AirVenture 2010.
- Lanitz-Prena Folien Factory Oratex (Leipzig, Germany, www.oracover.de)—Known among model airplane enthusiasts in the U.S. as Ultracoat, Lanitz-Prena’s Oracover was first used on the advanced, foot-launched Swiss Archaeopteryx in 2001. The success of this effort led the manufacturer to develop a new line of iron-on coverings for full-scale manned aircraft, starting with Oratex 600 for planes with gross weights up to 600 kg (1320 lbs/LSA category). Oratex 3000 will soon be released for aircraft weighing up to 3,000 kg (Cubs, Pitts, homebuilts, etc.) and later will follow Oratex 6000 for heavy aicraft such as the large An-2 biplane. A key advantage of Oratex is how it’s applied—a liquid adhesive is brushed or sprayed onto the aircraft surface to be covered, allowed to dry, then the fabric is applied with a simple iron. Once the heat-sensitive coating cools and cures (in about an hour), the fabric is shrunk to its final form with an hot air gun. No other paints or coatings are required, and the fabric may be removed easily with the application of heat. Officials from The Light Aircraft Company (TLAC) of Norfolk, England, who displayed their Sherwood Ranger kit biplane in the Oratex display at AERO, reported a savings of over 30 pounds using Oratex 600 compared to conventioned Stitts-like covering systems. Oratex is “self-colored” and available in eight classic aircraft colors. While not yet available in the U.S., it is supplied by several kit makers, such as TLAC, who export to the U.S.
Dallair Aeronautica FR-01 and EPA Power Rotax (Naples, Italy, www.dallair.com and San Pietro Mosezzo, Italy, www.epapower.com)—Rumors in the past year of the existence of a Rotax-based aerobatic engine were confirmed with the first-ever appearance of the Italian Dallair FR-01 in Friedrichshafen, powered by a Rotax 912 modified by EPA Power, also from Italy. The FR-01 is a single-place, LSA-class aerobatic design from Fabio Russo, whose day job is as a member of the Tecnam Aircraft engineering staff. The airplane is of mixed steel tube, aluminum, composite, and fabric construction stressed to +/- 6g. It is manufactured by Pasquale Dállesandro, whose company Dallair is a major supplier of aircraft components to Tecnam. Underneath the FR-01’s tight-fitting carbon cowling is a 135 HP engine with inverted oil, the creation of Italian Claudio Albertinazzi’s motorsports engine shop EPA Power. Based on a stock 80 hp Rotax 912, EPA Power increases the engine’s output through new cylinders, pistons and heads, an electronic fuel injection system with dual fuel pumps, a new balanced crankshaft, and a 26-amp generator. These engines have been flying successfully on aerobatic aircraft in Italy for three years and come standard on the new Dallair FR-01.
- D-Motor LF26 (Deerlijk, Belgium, www.D-MOTOR.eu)—One of the more promising new engines on display at AERO 2010 was the LF26 from D-Motor of Deerlijk, located in western Belgium. This flat-four cylinder, four stroke, liquid-cooled 2512 cc direct-drive engine develops 80 hp at 2800 rpm. Its chief assets are its low weight of 47 kg (100 lbs, including exhaust, radiator and oil) and launch price of 10,400 Euros, under $15,000.
- Woopy Fly Electric-powered Ultralight (Aigle, Switzerland, www.woopyjump.com)—Concerned about the safety of parasoaring canopies, Swiss inventor Laurent de Kalbermatten developed the new Woopy Jump hang glider over the last decade. Consisting of a single aluminum and carbon spar supporting an closed sailcloth envelope pressurized by two small battery-powered fans (and ram air during flight), Woopy Jump first attracted attention on ski slopes where Kalbermatten used the glider to safely extend jumps. The logical progress of this was the simple electric-powered Woopy Fly system, enabling, according to Kalbermatten, the “One Hour Woopy Experience”: the entire aircraft can be transported in the trunk of a conventional car to a small open field, assembled, flown for 20 minutes, then stowed again in the trunk, all in one hour. “You go back to the office with a smile,” Laurent explained. Why “Woopy”? That’s the sound its pilots make!
- Extra Aircraft TR230 -
The all-composite TR230 was developed by German manufacturer Vplane and will be manufactured by Extra Aircraft. Aimed as a replacement for Cessna 182 class aircraft, the four-place TR230 features three doors, a 230 hp Lycoming IO-540 engine for a maximum cruise speed of 160 knots, and an all-carbon-fiber design. First flight is planned for later this year, with EASA certification expected at the end of 2012.
- Millennium Master and Shark tandem aircraft (Landshut, Germany, www.millennium-aircraft.com and Hlboké, Slovak Republic, www.shark.aero)—Shown in mockup form last year, Italian/German Millennium Master and Slovakian Shark Aero attracted strong interest in their fast, Rotax-powered composite tandem designs, with lines similar to advanced turbine military training aircaft. Both aircraft feature retractable landing gears and variable-pitch propellers to achieve cruise speeds of 180 mph while burning under 5 gph Mogas or Avgas. A third company, Italian Fly Synthesis, displayed a mockup of a similar design now under development, the Flamingo.
- Three Gyrocopters: AutoGyro Calidus, Rotortec Cloud Dancer II and FD-Composites Arrow Copter (Hildesheim, Germany, www.auto-gyro.com, Görisried, Germany, www.rotortec.com, and Arbing, Austria, www.arrow-copter.com)—The creation of a new class of certificated gyrocopters in Europe a few years ago has lead to a veritable explosion in new designs. Three of these appearing at AERO this year are worthy of special mention: Market leader AutoGyro of Hildesheim, Germany, attracted large crowds around their bullet-shaped tandem Calidus 09 sporting a pair of Full Lotus floats. A second German gyrocopter producer, Rotortec of Görisried near Friedrichshafen, brought its new two-place side-by-side, four-bladed Cloud Dancer II. Lastly, FD-Composites of Arbing, Austria debuted its futuristic Arrow Copter tandem. Short wings on the Arrow Copter provide additional lift while serving also as landing gear and fuel tanks. All three designs make extensive use of the latest composite materials, have comfortable fully-enclosed cockpits with modern glass panels, are powered by four-stroke Rotax engines (or its own 135 hp two-cylinder MPE engine in the case of Rotortec) and can cruise for three hours at over 100 mph.
- Electric Propulsion Systems from Flytec Instruments (Horw, Switzerland, www.flytec.ch)—In one sense, electric propulsion expert Flytec can be considered a new manufacturer of powerplants. Known in the past as a supplier of specialty GPS systems for parasoaring and hang glider pilots, Flytec has teamed with German brushless motor maker Geiger Engineering to create efficient electric propulsion systems for a variety of light aircraft, many of which were on display at AERO 2010. With the rapid progress in electric flight, one shouldn’t be surprised to see a Flytec-powered three-axis airplane at AERO 2011.
New Rotax-powered TwinR from French DynAero.
Mockup of the Elektra One from PC-Aero, a serious contender for the $1.5m NASA/CAFE Green Flight Challenge 2011.
This Sherwood Ranger kit biplane from The Light Airplane Company (TLAC) of Norfolk, England is covered in Cub Yellow and Silver Oratex 600.
Fabio Russo, designer, and Pasquale Dállesandro, manufacturer, of the new aerobatic LSA-qualified Dallair FR-01 from Italy.
This new liquid-cooled 80 hp four-cylinder LF26 engine from Belgian D-Motor weighs around 100 pounds and was listed at under $15,000 at AERO 2010.
Woopy founder Laurent de Kalbermatten with foam model used during early studies. The craft’s electric power unit is shown collapsed for transporting in a standard car trunk. To the left and right of Laurent are company principals Elodie de Kalbermatten and Florian Daussy.
The Carbon fiber Extra TR230 is aimed as a replacement for C-182 class airplanes.
The Slovakian Shark Aero Shark, a second 180 mph composite tandem appearing at AERO 2010.
FD-Composites from Arbing, Austria attracted crowds to its futuristic Arrow Copter. Small wings provide additional lift while serving as the craft’s landing gear and fuel tanks.
World champion hang glider pilot Manfred Ruhmer chose a Flytec power system for his new Icaro 2000 Nano trike.