Plans and Kits for Cloudster Ultralight Available
Jeff Erekson of Simplex Aeroplanes in Manchester, Connecticut, announced he will distribute plans and kits for the Cloudster ultralight, one of three planes designed by Scott Land in the late ’90s. The design uses conventional gear with three-axis controls. The pilot’s legs go up the side of the fuselage to the rudder pedals, making it a true open cockpit flying machine. Major components of the plane are all wood with metal struts, and the wing construction is similar to the Mini-Max.
Designer Scott Land was inspired to design and build airplanes by his father, Jack Land, an aircraft builder who collected VW engines and sold propellers under the company name of Pop’s Props near Bloomington, Illinois. The Cloudster was said to be based on rough sketches his father had worked on for years. The initial prototype flew with a 1/2 VW engine and a wingspan of 34 feet, but it reportedly had issues with excess adverse yaw. It was modified and rebuilt with a shorter 31-foot wingspan and flew successfully at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 1999 with a Kawasaki 340 engine. Watch the video
The plans consist of 30 detailed drawings on 11 x 17 inch paper printed and spiral bound and include a detailed construction manual with illustrations. Plans are always being updated to reflect error corrections and more instructions or drawings to add clarification. All Cloudster plans sold by Simplex Aeroplanes include technical assistance. In addition, a Yahoo! discussion group, Cloudster Ultralight, has been established. Materials kits for the tail, fuselage, and wing are already available, and the full airframe kit will hopefully be ready by the summer of 2011. The kits are supplied with Eastern and Northern White pine which is available locally in Connecticut; the plywood is typically Baltic birch. For more details including prices, specifications, and construction photos of the Cloudster, go to SimplexAero.com.
After the Cloudster, Scott Land designed and built a successful parasol wing version called the Zing that also flew at Oshkosh. But after several years, he lost interest in the plans business and drifted out of aviation. The Zing is said to fly just like the Cloudster, only faster. Plans for the Zing aren’t yet available. Jeff said right now they’re focusing on the Cloudster, but once it’s up and running well, the Zing will likely follow.
Jeff Erekson learned to fly a Quicksilver when he was 15 years old, and he owned and flew a Lazair Series II until he went to college. Jeff built the last two-place Weedhopper kit sold, and also a RagWing Parasol and a Sonex. He likes the Cloudster and the Zing because they’re similar to the RagWing. Jeff is currently working on a new design, the Simplex Cloudster Duo which is a tandem-seat Cloudster.