Bits and Pieces
By Jack Dueck
Marlene and Sean with their AULA
Quick-build Amateur-Built Wing
SLSA Cargo Door
Is this an amateur-built aircraft? Yes it can be. How about an advanced ultra-light, (AULA)? Again yes. And we are also producing a model for the American Light sport (SLSA) market. Also, do you prefer a tricycle gear or a tail dragger? No problem. Your choice!
A few miles west of Montreal, right off Highway 40, I met Marlene Gill and Sean Gillmore at their fabrication plant with several Bush Caddy aircraft under final stages of construction. This is a new and better location for this firm, with more room and better environmental conditions for manufacture and for worker comfort.
I saw my first BushCaddy as an amateur-built aircraft in Whitehorse; a beautifully- crafted product bringing its builder many accolades. I next met Marlene and Sean in a working group under the auspices of Transport Canada, evaluating the future of recreational aircraft in Canada. So when I recently had the occasion to travel to Montreal, I hoped that I could meet them again and visit their plant.
Marlene and Sean were gracious hosts and we spent a very pleasant hour or so viewing their products, discussing the industry and sharing our concerns of Transport Canada and the American FAA policies affecting the rules and regulations for recreational aircraft.
Two aircraft, both far along the path to completion, were being worked on. The first, one destined to USA export as an SLSA was at the 'firewall forward' stage. In the plant, Mike Boisvert, Plant Manager, showed me the degree of commitment that went into the finishing of the vitals, forward of the firewall. Mike commented that this aircraft is designated for an American customer. Although our current Canadian/US rules and regulations create hardships for Canadian manufacturers selling their product into the USA, these difficulties may become less arduous with time and with a lessening of specific country inspection procedures.
The second aircraft, almost ready for delivery, was an Advanced Ultra-light, (AULA) and although very similar to the first, nevertheless, had some significant differences.
On this aircraft, the cabin height had been increased by 2" giving the taller pilot additional headroom. This required a longer sweep of the wing trailing edge above the fuselage line, and an ingenious intersection between wing and fuselage.
Sean showed the very interesting cockpit adjustable hydraulic pitch propeller. Since the AULA is not restricted by a fixed-pitch propeller as is the SLSA, the operator of this aircraft has the ability to change his flight configuration from climb to cruise.
BushCaddy also offers their aircraft to the homebuilder in a quick-build amateur-aircraft classification. A wing for the Q/B kit was jigged onto a straight work table, with appropriate wash-out, and the top skin was laid-out, drilled, and was being affixed to the spars and wing ribs. The accuracy of the lay-out, the pre-drilling of #40 drill holes, then followed by #30 holes and pull-rivets was impressive and showed quality workmanship.
Sean has developed a tricycle version for that market. A heavy nose-gear is mounted, and the main gear is simply reversed, bringing the C of G forward of the main gear.
Sean's passion for accuracy and quality was constantly apparent. The cargo door, fitted to the SLSA was impressively solid and mounted with about a 0.020" clearance all around. The 'H' section longerons, the structural rigidity and strength throughout the design and construction, make this an ideal aircraft for operators and builders alike.
So is it an AULA, an SLSA, an amateur-built? Is it a tail dragger or a tricycle? Your choice. It is Canadian, it is a quality aircraft, and it is affordable. What's not to like!