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AERO 2012 Reports Strong Sales, First German EAA Chapter

 

By Marino Boric, EAA 1069644, for EAA.org

April 23, 2012 - AERO Friedrichshafen 2012 closed on Saturday, April 21, with many exhibitors reporting brisk orders of aircraft, engines, and other accessories. In a few words, we can say surprising number of novelties, fewer but more qualified buyers, and positive sales numbers in all areas.

The EAA chapter network also got a little bigger this past week with the formation of Chapter 1578 - the first in Germany. Eighteen members of the new chapter conducted an inaugural meeting at AERO, discussing their mission and governance, and how to help EAA increase participation in aviation.

Most participating manufacturers felt the crowds were smaller but more qualified than previous years. One estimate showed that 70 percent of visitors are pilots. Official AERO statistics reported a slight attendance decrease, from 33,400 in 2011 to 30,800 this year. The number of exhibitors was down from 630 to 580.

The market for business jets is bouncing back, and experts and manufacturers are now much more optimistic. Aircraft in the "upper middle class" are of special interest and are experiencing strong growth rates. Our inquiry on the last day showed strong customer interest and we saw smiling faces in Embraer, Cessna, and other "big company" booths.

Electric powerplants, especially acceptable in Europe due to their low environmental impact, are growing more numerous in new light and ultralight aircraft. Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, announced that the winner of the Lindbergh Prize for Innovation is the Volocopter VC1, made by Germany's e-volo. This novel vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) system was on display on the EAA/Flying Pages booth, and uses the distributed power of multiple small electric propulsion units. E-volo demonstrated breakthroughs in redundancy, simplicity of controls, and inefficiencies inherent in the control surfaces. EAA's Jeff Kaufmann encouraged the e-volo crew to display its device and projects at AirVenture, so Oshkosh visitors may get an up-close look at this innovative aircraft.

Tecnam reported signing 35 aircraft orders for the various models it had on display during AERO's first two days. Tecnam introduced the INDRA maritime reconnaissance version of its light twin, delivered the 100th P2006T to Russia's Chelavia Flight Academy, and delivered the 200th P2002JR to a German customer. Important for the European market was the official introduction of the P92 TD (taildragger) and the P92 Sea-Sky versions. The long-awaited P2008 with Rotax 912iS was on display as well.

At the same time, Flight Design showed the interior mock-up of the four-place C4 for the first time, and also took deposits for 14 new CTLSi two-seaters equipped with Rotax 912iS (fuel-injected) engines and four more with the traditional carbureted engine. This seems to be the market share that the new Rotax fuel-injected engine will get on the market; most manufacturers that are offering this engine option gave us similar sales ratios of injected versus carbureted versions.

Pipistrel attracted crowds with the world premiere of its sleek, four-place Panthera. An experimental version of the all-composite aircraft will be on display during AirVenture 2012, while Pipistrel will work to certificate the high-tech aircraft by 2014/2015.

Here are more new aircraft, engines, etc. we found in the past two days.

Watercraft

GAV (Galicia Avionica) - Freedom S100
(Photo by Marino Boric)

GAV (Galicia Avionica) - Freedom S100
The Spanish company GAV is widening its product portfolio with its amphibious model Freedom S100. The all-composite, two-seat, side-by-side aircraft has a Rotax 912S engine in pusher configuration, giving cabin occupants the helicopter visibility at the price of 110,000 Euro ($144,500). The retractable landing gear allows for sea- or land-based operations, with a 118-knot cruise speed. The company also announced it is developing a five-seat amphibious aircraft powered by two 100-hp engines in tractor configuration. www.galiciavionica.com

 

 

 

 

Nando Groppo - Trial Bush
(Photo by Marino Boric)

Nando Groppo - Trial Bush
The small Italian manufacturer brought to Germany a new version of its Trial taildragger - the Trial Bush - fitted with oversized bush wheels and now powered by a Sauer VW-based four-cylinder engine. Price with the Sauer engine is 49,900 Euro ($65,500), and the tundra tire option adds 5,000 Euro ($6,600). www.groppo.it

 

 

 

 

 

Engines

We will probably remember this edition of Aero as the "engine year" as a number of alternative and new engines were introduced and on display. Standing out was the new fuel-injected Rotax 912iS that customers received very favorably. Also prominent were the new 160/200-hp UL-Power six-cylinders from Belgium and the two-stroke, four-cylinder Hirth F-40 from Germany that can run on autofuel as well as jet/diesel fuel. MW Fly from Italy attained much interest with the more powerful versions of its water-cooled 125- and 130-hp boxer engines.

RED A03

RED A05
(Photos by Marino Boric)

RED (Raikhlin Aircraft Engine Developments)
German-based engine manufacturer Raikhlin Aircraft Engine Developments (RED) debuted its 12-cylinder, 500-hp, diesel engine at AERO 2010 but had not been back since. "We wanted to develop the products properly," RED CEO Vladimir Raikhlin told EAA. He adds that at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012, RED will exhibit two engines, the aforementioned 500-hp RED A03, V-12 (6100cc), which is currently undergoing EASA type certification, and a new 300-hp RED A05, a V-6 (3,200cc) prototype. Both engines feature an aluminum engine block. RED has already successfully flight-tested an AO3 on the company's YAK-52. Acceleration loads typical for training aircraft provided an opportunity to test engine performance, durability, and performance in critical conditions. Further flight testing will be conducted with the YAK-52, and plans are being finalized to flight-test the A03 on a twin-engine aircraft. www.red-aircraft.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rotorcraft

The gyrocopter market has returned to more "normal" levels after widespread development over the past two years. Although we expected little or no news in this field at AERO, the manufacturers surprised us again. For the German market, "Now Certified" stickers were on most of the units that were shown last year - an important development that will further boost interest in the already active market. Gyrocopters introduced over the past few years have evolved from simple, open, and basic aircraft to sleek, elegant, and fast travel aircraft. Another new surprise: gyrocopter workhorses for crop dusting. And even in the classic rotary wing world we could spot some new entries and refinements.

AutoGyro MTO SportAgric
(Photo by Marino Boric)

AutoGyro MTO SportAgric
German manufacturer AutoGyro displayed the MTO Sport Agric designed for agricultural work. It has a 40-gallon crop spraying tank on the backseat and 27-foot foldable spraying arm that weighs about 90 pounds. www.auto-gyro.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magni AgriGyro
(Photo by Marino Boric)

Magni AgriGyro
Established Italian manufacturer Magni displayed another gyrocopter workhorse, the Agrigyro with a spraying tank on the backseat. Spraying nozzles deploy liquid pressurized by an air-driven pump fixed on the spraying arm. www.magnigyro.it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trixy Zero
(Photo by Marino Boric)

Trixy Aviation
As it did in 2011, German manufacturer Trixy surprised visitors with an unusual two-seat gyrocopter, the Trixy Zero. The open aircraft resembles a motorcycle more than a gyrocopter. The almost-ready-for-flight-testing tandem is powered by Take-Off's 120-hp, BMW-based motorcycle engine, and is priced at 35,000 Euro ($46,000). A modified form of the Trixy Zero will be the base for a whole family of aircraft. Trixy is also developing a roadable, two-person fuselage with an engine that on the airfield can be docked to either a gyrocopter or to a fixed-wing "extension." That means one passenger cell/compartment can be used on the road and in the air by the addition of gyrocopter mast/rotor or classic fixed wings and tail section. www.trixyaviation.com

 

Helicopters

Guimbal
(Photo by Marino Boric)

Guimbal
Guimbal was at AERO with its already well-known model Cabri G2.30, in service worldwide approaching the 10,000 flying hours milestone in the coming weeks. The EASA-certified helicopter offers quick-removable, integrated pop-out floats. www.guimbal.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cicare Europe
(Photo by Marino Boric)

Cicare Europe
Cicare, the well-known helicopter pioneer from Argentina, premiered the Spirit two-seat tandem European ultralight helicopter. The Spirit is the evolution of the CH-6 and CH-7 Angel design. It's powered by the Rotax 914 turbo engine, which is included in the kit for 98,000 Euro ($130,000). A ready-to-fly version runs 125,000 Euro ($165,000). Cicare plans to show the Lycoming HIO-360 version at AirVenture 2013. www.cicare-europe.com

 

 

 

 

 

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