JDT Aero-Max Kit Prototype Flying in Tasmania
The long-awaited JDT Aero-Max kit is close to release. The kit is being developed at the JDT Mini-Max research facility in Clarence Point, Tasmania, Australia. The final production prototype was built using laser-cut plywood parts that fit together with tabs and slots and is currently flying with a 50-hp Hirth F-33 engine. It is said to be fun to fly and has been described as a 3D Harley on steroids.
John Graber, head of JDT Mini-Max in Nappanee, Indiana, said the Aero-Max was produced as a result of consumer demand. His company produces kits for the original line of Mini-Max airplanes designed by Wayne Ison. The builders were asking for an airplane similar to the Airbike but without the welded fuselage. John called on Wayne to come out of retirement to design the Aero-Max. The sides on the Hi-Max design were moved inward to make a narrow box fuselage that you fly straddled like the original Airbike. They settled on a width of 14 inches and have further refined the design including a change in the engine mount to accommodate a wider variety of engines. John says he is flying the third Aero-Max built.
His partner in Australia is David Trump whose team is working out the details to produce the Aero-Max kit for the world market. At first the kits will be laser-cut in Australia from aircraft plywood shipped from the United States, but eventually that process will move to China for the world market and perhaps to Nappanee, Indiana, for the domestic market. Parts in the kit will come together from Australia, China, and the United States, and they may establish a plant in China to build complete aircraft. In the United States the Aero-Max is an amateur-built experimental aircraft, but there are plans to produce a kit for a 245-pound Mini-Max Lite with a tricycle landing gear.
The computer-guided laser cutting allows engineers to specify changes as little as 0.0001 inch so the pre-cut parts will snap together easily. Instructions and alignment marks can be etched on the parts where needed. Thanks to all the slots, the parts will only go together one way, the correct way. The wing construction is the same as the other Mini-Max models except now the panels can be assembled and even moved around before the parts are all glued together.
Exact specifications and performance details for the new quick-build kit aren’t yet available, but previously published data for the Aero-Max claimed an empty weight of 375 pounds and a gross weight of 620 pounds. Cruise is 60 to 75 mph with a top speed of 100 mph and stall speed of 33 mph. A float option will be developed. Check the website www.JDTmini-max.com for announcements about prices and availability of the new Aero-Max kit. Watch this video of the Aero-Max landing on the first day of flying.