Despite Challenges, Italian Air Show Ozzano 2012 Impresses
By Marino Boric, EAA 1069644, for EAA.org
July 5, 2012 - The 23rd Italian Air Show Ozzano, the most prominent Italian fly-in and trade show, overcame a down economy, Mother Nature, and consequences of governmental policies for its June 16-17 gathering at Giulielmo Zamboni airfield, near Bologna in central Italy.
The air show "Cielo e Volo" organizer Dagaplex has had to deal with various measures of the new Italian government, which led to many aircraft cancellations from the aviation registry or led to owners "bugging out" to other nearby countries.
Just two weeks prior to the event several strong earthquakes hit the region 40 miles to the north, resulting in additional cancellations from national and international pilots and visitors - even though the earthquake did not damage the Ozzano area.
Two months earlier the regional Italian "Ministero Dello Sviluppo Economico" (Ministry of Economic Development), responsible for aeronautic radios, announced that it will ramp check for proper comm installations in all incoming aircraft. It was estimated that this planned action was responsible for a sharp drop - some estimates as high as 75 percent - of incoming airplanes compared to 2011.
Taking all these facts in consideration I must say I was positively surprised with the Ozzono Air Show. I was able to see a lot of foreign aircraft - mainly German and Austrian - and many manufacturers presented interesting products. And the weather was nearly perfect - bright sunshine with temperatures around 38░C (100░F) and a steady breeze. We have to praise the organizer Dagaplex that organized a beautiful event despite all the obstacles, even surprising visiting pilots with a brand new asphalt runway.
This was a real surprise of Ozzano 2012. The minimal airplane, or minimal motorized glider arrived from southern Italy flown by its inventor and manufacturer, Francesco Di Martino. It was his first public presentation and while the aircraft is still a prototype, it's nearly ready for final production. Di Martino admitted that he was inspired by Mike Sandin's Goat. This aircraft is lightweight (186 pounds empty weight), essential (you can't really omit anything), and minimalistic: pure fun. During demonstration flights Di Martino was able to take off and land in about 60 feet, and with some wind it landed like a helicopter. The aircraft - as yet unnamed - uses a two-stroke 25-hp Vitorazzi Monster engine fitted with the MERIN safety fuel tank and Comelli compressed air airframe chute. This open-air beauty has a 420-pound MTOW can soar (glide factor of 10) and has a cruise speed of 35 mph. It will be delivered only in kit form costing $9,465 with the engine, or $6,941 without engine and fuel tank. www.aviad.it
This Belgian company brought two of its well-known UL airplane, the VL-3 Evolution. JMB claims the world's fastest side-by-side UL aircraft sold in Europe in retractable and fixed-gear versions. The company had been the aircraft's only the importer (from Czech manufacturer Aveko) but since March 2012 the Guisset brothers bought a majority stake of Aveko assets, with the remaining 47 percent distributed among VL-3 owners. Manufacturing will remain in the Czech Republic. About 80 aircraft have been sold in Europe, and there are four VL-3s flying in the U.S. This is about to change soon because the new owner will be at AirVenture 2013 with its LSA-compliant (fixed-gear) airplane as well as an experimental retractable-gear version. VL-3 fixed-gear price tag starts at $99,698; the retractable-gear version is $8,834 more. www.vl-3.com
Ozzano saw the rebirth of the UL airplane with helicopter similarity. Formerly called the SAI G-97 Spotter, this side-by-side two-seater is now being marketed as the M7 Servator by its manufacturer, O.M.M. (Officine Meccaniche Mingarelli A.r.L.) from southern Italy. The M7 is an all-metal, high-wing airplane with slow-flying capabilities and almost unmatched total visibility. Thrust comes from a three-bladed prop in a pusher configuration hooked up to a Rotax 912S. The M7 Servator obtained German UL certification during AERO 2012. Price starts at $94,650.
C2P is a Slovenian product development company that unveiled its all-carbon two-plus-two seat aircraft two years ago at AERO. The airplane was flown to Ozzano from Slovenia to demonstrate the viability of the design. The initial idea was to sell the project to investors; now after two years the young company announced that it aims to build it themselves for the European and U.S. markets. Powered by a Rotax 912S, the C2P cruises at 130-plus knots and stall speed is 35 knots thanks to its flap geometry. Empty weight is 794 pounds, with a useful load of 860 pounds. Two versions will be offered, ready-to-fly and a kit, according to company CEO Iztok Salomon. www.c2p.aero
Being absent from AERO this year created some negative speculation about the company, but the northern Italy manufacturer Flight Synthesis was at Ozzano with its nearly complete production program: the Catalina NG, Texan, and Syncro. Company representative Massimo Meroi stated the Syncro is just entering the serial production after extensive flight testing with 10 airplanes under construction. I learned the company was hit by the market crisis in 2011 and that the aircraft segment "has suffered a lot," but now the production ramped up to the pre-crisis levels. According to Massimo, the company was doing well even in middle of the recession because Fly Synthesis was able to focus on its other product line - wind-generator blades. (Fly Synthesis produces one 40-foot-long blade every other day.) www.flysinthesis.com
This Italian manufacturer showed the newest version of its Kiss 209M helicopter, which debuted in Italy three years ago. The already-proven helicopter flew flight demos throughout the day, courting prospective customers who waited for hours for their flight. The public was able to see only the retractable gear version; the skid version is not in production as the retractable-gear version is in much higher demand. Fama owner Nino FamÓ announced that 12 solar turbine-powered helicopters have been delivered and the production for the next three years is already sold out, with a total of 32 orders on the books. The U.S. version of the 162-hp, retractable-gear turbine helicopter with has an empty weight of 634.9 pounds and is priced at $189,300. Fama is currently working on an alternative powerplant - possibly a piston engine. www.famahelicopters.com
Veleria Dedalo & ElectricSports, Strike T
Veleria Dedalo owner is Italian flight enthusiast Tino Venturi, well-known for trikes and powered parachutes for decades. Venturi presented two versions of his Strike minimalist weight-shift trikes. The search for the ultimate flying device that is lightweight and inexpensive but, combined with a light engine, is easily collapsible for transport. The Strike-trike is not just a normal micro-light motorized trike, but it is also a thermal-riding glider. Two versions are offered: the 26-pound Strike-T made of titanium, and the more economic 33-pound Strike-S made of stainless steel. Both versions can be powered by a conventional 27-hp, two-stroke gas engine for motorized flight while the Tino uses "electric climbing aid" for electrically assisted takeoff and climb to the thermal glide area. The electric version is fitted with the German ES Trike electric motor/battery pack shown at AERO 2012 in Germany, where it has already obtained German certification. The 10kW electric motor drives the two-blade carbon fiber folding propeller via an extended carbon shaft. Endurance is 25 minutes with a smaller (18-pound) battery pack, or up to two hours with a 50-pound battery pack. The Italian Strike and the German version, the es-trike, still qualify under FAR Part 103. www.veleriadedalo.com, www.flying-expert.com
AvMap, EKP V, now with IMU
For Italian manufacturers, Ozzano is almost a local fair, because AvMap is located just 200 miles away. We saw for the first time the newest addition to the EKP V range, adding PFD and EFB to the navigation. The EKP V can turn into a full-featured PFD for experimental and light-sport aircraft when connected to the inertial measurement unit. It will be available later this month at AirVenture. The price is set at $1,261. www.avmap.it
Italian instrument maker FlyBox unveiled its Obl˛ mini EFIS that appears to be the most compact on the market. Obl˛ can be mounted in a standard 3-1/8-inch instrument hole, weighs less than 10 ounces, and can indicate turn ratios with more than 200 degrees per second. Prices start at $1,893. The most interesting fact is that in the not-too-distant future Obl˛ could be used as a Rotax 912iS engine data indicator, or miniEIS. The EIS function will be available through one black box (interface) that will be wired behind the Obl˛ EFIS. The company is just about to adapt the same black box to the Rotax CAN Bus interface for the already existing miniEIS (prices from $1,237) that has the same dimensions as the Obl˛ EFIS but will be capable of extended engine data logging functions. This is an interesting solution for the new Rotax fuel-injected engine. www.flyboxavionics.it
Continuous Power in Flight
Continuous Power in Flight owner Alfredo Porcelli surprised the audience for the second time in two years with new variable-pitch propeller hubs. Last year he unveiled hubs for three-blade props; this year it's for two-blade propellers. Porcelli's variable-pitch hubs (two different hubs for weaker and stronger engines) look like watchmaker-grade components. It is pretty likely that we will see this manufacturer at AirVenture 2013. www.cpinflight.com