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Bits and Pieces

New Challenger to Canadian Skies - The XS65

By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

The latest version of the Challenger series of advanced ultralights, the clipped wing XS-65, has been approved for sale in Canada. You may be surprised to learn that more than 4,000 of the Challenger family have been sold since the outset. Those familiar with the Van's aircraft know that there are about 7,700 of the ubiquitous designs flying worldwide so Challengers numbers are up there. With prices in the high 30Ks and a top speed of 120 mph, the XS-65 is a serious contender for longer distance economical travel.

National Ultralight Inc. is the Canadian distributor for Challenger and the following comes directly from their website.

The XS-65 is a clip wing derivative of the best-selling XL-65 with all the same features including the 582 Power Pack, but with a clip wing four feet shorter - 26 ft versus 29.5 ft. The Vne of the XS-65 is raised to 120 mph from 100 mph and the maximum cruise speed of the XS-65 is 100 mph versus 90 mph for the XL-65. The XS-65 has the same 1060 lb gross weight as the XL-65 for an impressive payload of nearly 600 lbs which is actually higher than most two seat aircraft with much larger, more expensive engines.

The XS-65 is approved for amphibious floats in the Canadian Advanced Ultralight category and it is optimized for people who want high power and low drag to give the maximum possible speed. With its fast cruise, long range wing tanks and a baggage compartment in the fuselage the XS-65 makes a great cross-country machine. Good fuel economy and low maintenance costs mean owners will not think about their wallets before going flying.


Light Sport in the US—AULA here in Canada

The clip wing XS-65 has fighter-like performance and maneuverability. Controls are light and harmonized for superb handling. The XS-65 retains the docile nature, low stall speed and amazing crosswind capability of previous generations of Challengers. The combination of outstanding STOL performance plus heavy duty landing gear and hydraulic disc brakes allow the XS-65 to operate from short, unimproved strips.

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