Monsoon Trike E-LSA Kit
Curt Shoaf knew he wanted a Monsoon trike when he first flew one at the 2007 Sun ’n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland, Florida. It cruised 80 mph and had all the latest design features. He already owned two excellent trikes, an Airborne 582 with Profi wing and a Pegasus. There was a problem, but it wasn’t lack of hangar space. It was the cost. What he needed was a kit. Fortunately the manufacturer, Tampa Bay AeroSport, was looking for the right customer to build its first Monsoon experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA) trike kit. Curt was an ideal candidate who is skilled with tools, and he is keen to build a trike. He works as chief of maintenance at a steel fabrication plant and has been flying trikes for nine years.
The breakthrough came when he realized he already had a key part of his new trike: a like-new manufacturer-approved Profi wing. By trading or selling some of his gear he could afford the kit. It was not one of those imaginary 95 percent completed kits where you only attach the wings, tires, and prop and go fly. It was a real kit that arrived with the main “stick” frame, a pile of fiberglass parts, and the wheels. Everything is assembled plumbed and connected by the builder. His plan to use a new Rotax 582 engine was scrapped when he stumbled across an 80-hp Rotax 912 with only eight hours of running time. The trike would be a Monsoon 912 with Profi wing, which is one of the tested and approved configurations for this E-LSA.
When Curt’s trike is completed he will provide his designated airworthiness representative or Flight Standards District Office inspector the manufacturer’s ASTM International compliance statement, which means his aircraft has a special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) counterpart. It must be built with the same instruments, wiring, engine, wheels, brakes, propeller, and an approved wing. After it has been certificated as an experimental LSA, Curt can make any changes he wants. The factory-built S-LSA get all the attention, but the kit versions have the potential to help many get into their dream aircraft because of the reduced cost.
Monsoon kit partially assembled
Every detail of the 912 engine installation has been worked out by the manufacturer, but Curt said it’s still difficult to get everything into the space allowed. His experience will be used to fine-tune the assembly procedure for future customers. Standard features include an MGL Avionics ultra flat-panel digital instrument display, a solid curved 7075-T6 aluminum leaf-type landing gear, welded aluminum fuel tank, and hydraulic brakes on all three wheels. Curt warns these brakes are very potent compared to cable-actuated brakes. His Monsoon will feature tundra tires for those early-spring soft-field takeoffs.
Curt plans to install an optional electric in-flight trim actuator. The clever device mounts under the wing keel and can shift the “hang point” remotely within the acceptable range to effect changes in the trim speed. It looks small but is rated to withstand 1,800 pounds of force. Shifting the center of gravity is aerodynamically superior to earlier methods that used a cable system to deflect the trailing edge. Linear actuators are the only method of trim control available on the new generation of topless trike wings.
Linear trim actuator
Curt expects to have his trike completed and flying by next spring. Look for him and his new Monsoon at the annual Trikefest Fly-in at Cushing Field (OC8) near Newark, Illinois. Trikefest is the largest gathering of trikes in the country and was originally conceived by Curt as a stopover fly-in for anyone traveling to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
The Monsoon is a U.S.-designed trike built with components supplied by the famed Apollo trike factory in Hungary. By comparison the latest model from Tampa Bay AeroSport, the Revolution, looks similar to the Monsoon but is built entirely in the United States with considerable use of CNC manufacturing. Learn more about the Monsoon and its other models at its website.