April 10, 2013 - Sport Performance Aircraft LLC successfully flew its Panther Sport Aircraft prototype for the first time on April 8 at Kay Larkin Airport (28J) in Palatka, Florida. The mid-size, single-seat, low-wing, aerobatic airplane flew for approximately 20 minutes and experienced no issues with controls, performance, or handling, according to the Panther blog.
Dan Weseman, SPA president, spent several years designing the Panther and built the airplane over the past year. Panther is an aluminum and welded steel airplane with folding wings.
After passing inspection on March 29, the first taxi occurred on April 2. Dan's wife and business partner, Rachael, took photos and video of the flight.
Designed and built at SPA headquarters at Haller Airpark in Green Cove Springs, Florida, the Panther is what Dan and Rachael call the "Burger King of airplanes" for its "have it your way" options. The aircraft's versatility allows pilots to choose the plane's engine, landing gear configuration, wing length, safety features, open or enclosed cockpit, and kit or plan/kit combo.
For example, the prototype's engine is a 120-hp, 3.0-liter Corvair built by William Wynne of FlyCorvair. Other engine options will include Continental C-85, 0-200, 0-240, Lycoming 0-235 to 0-320, UL, Jabiru, or VW.
Eventually, Dan and Rachael hope to sell this aircraft as a kit through their company. There will be three wing lengths/airframe configurations - Sport, LSA, and Long LSA.
This week Sun 'n Fun attendees can visit Sport Performance Aircraft LLC at Exhibitor booth N-057 for more information about the Panther Sport Aircraft and other company services.