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Preview: AERO Friedrichshafen 2013

Surprises always in store

By Marino Boric, EAA European Correspondent

April 10, 2013 - Old airplanes with new facelifts, all-new airplanes, a new area focused on avionics, and more will be the features of the 21st AERO Friedrichshafen 2013, Europe's largest European light aviation and GA air show.

Held annually in Germany just across Lake Konstanz from Switzerland, AERO consistently surprises the aviation community with new, innovative designs and lots of just plain cool pilot's gear! This year's show runs April 24-27 and features more than 600 exhibitors from 30 countries.

EAA members receive free admission when showing their membership card. EAA also invites members to stop by Exhibit B3-200 and say hello.

Four years ago, AERO changed from every other year to an annual event, in response to the growth of the United States LSA and European ultralight categories. While economic indicators have not improved much overall from the last AERO and have actually deteriorated in some European countries, the industry's reaction to such a hostile climate is not a slowdown in new and current airplane development; the pace has increased!

Take Italy, where sales for many manufacturers plunged almost to zero as a result of the government's economic stabilization measures and new taxes on airplanes. Yet Italy's most famous manufacturer, Tecnam, is expected to bring plenty of new products to Friedrichshafen.

The U.S. Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) and LAMA Europe will host a closing day meeting (Saturday, April 27) with manufacturers and businesses to brief them on new regulations, market statistics, and more. LAMA and LAMA Europe will answer questions and encourage information exchanges between industry participants. All interested parties are invited to join that meeting.

AERO 2013 will also include a larger rotary wing aircraft section than in the past. Gyrocopter manufacturers are likely to steal the show, as opposed to traditional rotary wing manufacturers. Pilots' focus will increasingly be in gyrocopters in 2013 as sales in this segment were booming in Europe in the last several years.

Also new in 2013 is Avionics Avenue, featuring the latest avionics equipment including flight control and management systems, communications systems, navigation devices, displays, weather radar, and air and ground radar systems.

This positive trend will even increase because of a maximum weight change in aircraft regulations in Europe few months ago. Light gyroplanes with no more than two seats can now weigh up to 1,234 pounds more than a 200-pound increase, making it possible to carry more luggage or fuel on board.

The following list (created without any particular criteria) reflects what we've been hearing in advance of AERO 2013.

SportStar EPOS   CubCrafters
Evektor - Exhibit B2, 307 (Hall B2, Booth 307)
This Czech UL manufacturer is bringing several new and updated airplanes to AERO 2013. First the biggest surprise: Evektor will display the SportStar EPOS electric aircraft called powered by a 50-kW electric motor. (This plane made its first flight in late March.) The EPOS (electric-powered small) aircraft is an LSA based on the well-known EASA CS-LSA certified SportStar RTC (1,323 pounds MTOW). Besides the EPOS, Evektor will reveal a new model called EuroStar SL+ and the SLW Sport.
  CubCrafters - Exhibit B3, 227
European representative DirectSky will debut its interpretation of the legendary Piper PA-18 Super Cub at AERO. DirectSky will display its new 180-hp Carbon Cub SS and EX version.

Flight Design: CT Supralight - Exhibit B1, 101
Flight Design is returning to its roots with the display of the CT Supralight airplane that comfortably fits in the tight European UL class. Fitted with the basic Rotax 912 engine, the revised airplane weighs in at just 586 pounds in basic configuration. FlightDesign saved weight stripping down all "unnecessary" parts and components.


Galicia Avionica (GAV) - Exhibit: B1-119
The Spanish manufacturer is coming to AERO 2013 after a successful year that began at AERO 2012. The manufacturer intends to showcase its amphibious UL Freedom S100 that will include a number of improvements. For AERO 2013, the manufacturer has several "surprises," where the biggest change should be a new wing.

Tecnam Costruzioni Aeronautiche Srl - Exhibit A4, 317
Tecnam intends to premiere several new aircraft while celebrating its 65th anniversary at AERO this year. First is the recently acquired Snap, an aerobatic, single-seat aircraft powered by the Rotax 912S/iS engine. The plane was debuted two years ago by Dallair Aeronautica at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Tecnam will also debut its new low-wing, side-by-side, two-seat Astore on opening day. Astore is powered by the Rotax 912iS and has already excited the European pilot community. Tecnam will also show no less than four versions of its milestone P92: the P92 Light, P92 TD taildragger, P92 Eaglet, and the P92 on floats.


B.O.T. - Exhibit B2, 310
After an intensive development period, German B.O.T. Aircraft is ready to deliver the Sport Cruiser SC07 with the Belgian D-Motor LF26 engine. The four-cylinder D-Motor is production-ready and seems to exceed the manufacturer's initial power expectations.

Breezer - Exhibit B3, 215
German manufacturer Breezer is going to show the new B400/B600 aircraft, which received a facelift this year. The most apparent new detail on the Breezer UL and LSA models will be the new canopy, better seats, and two different (redesigned) panels.


Pipistrel - Exhibit B1, 317/321
A new airplane that generated excitement at AERO 2012 was Pipistrel's Panthera, a sleek and fast four-place aircraft. First flight of the Panthera occurred last week, which means the plane should not only be on display at AERO 2013, but Pipistrel will also fly it to Friedrichshafen.

Pipistrel will also debut the Alpha Trainer in Europe this year. The version in Friedrichshafen will differ in several details from the U.S. version. The Alpha Trainer is still powered by the 80-hp Rotax 912, but will be offered in two different versions: the 472.5-kilogram European UL and 550-kilogram LSA version.

In addition, Pipistrel plans to show the Virus SW with the Rotax 912iS. UL certification is reportedly underway.

Zlin Aviation s.r.o. - Exhibit B2, 109
At the Zlin booth, you will be able to smell the scent of freedom; besides the already known "naked" Bobber, Zlin will likely show its long-awaited Savage Cub S equipped with a modified and lightened 172-hp Lycoming O-320. Fitted with enormous tundra tires, this Cub S could outperform nearly all aircraft in its category.


Trixy Aviation - Exhibit B1, 111
Trixy owner Rainer Farrag of Austria said there would be six announcements this year at AERO, revealing three of them beforehand.

The most important change at Trixy happened under the engine cowling: For its G 4-2R autogyro models, Trixy not only features stock Rotax 912/914 engines, but also a beefed up version of the 912 engine (turbocharger and electronic fuel injection) that develops around 130 hp. Called Trixy 912 Ti, it will power the heaviest (560-kilogram) Trixy.

Trixy will also unveil a lower-priced, open-cockpit version, the Liberty. Finally, Trixy will unveil a new rotor head fitted with longer (8.6 meters) rotor blades.

ScaleWings FK 131   TL Ultralight Sidewinder

ScaleWings and FK-Airplanes - Exhibit B2, 101
German designer Peter Funk will show his new Bücker Jungmann, the FK 131 microlight, patterned after 1930s aircraft. It will be manufactured in a limited series.

ScaleWings Modelltechnik GmbH and its owner Hans Schwöller from Austria will debut in cooperation with FK-Lightplanes a new reproduction of the legendary P-51 Mustang, the FK-51 Mustang. The all-composite scale replica will not only reproduce every rivet row, but also simulate the original metal surface shine. This tandem twin-seater with retractable gear can be powered by the Rotax 912/914 engines, but even with other engines up to 200 hp - in which case the max speed could reach 350 kilometers per hour.


TL Ultralight s.r.o. - Exhibit B2, 301
The Czech UL manufacturer will likely create the biggest buzz at AERO 2013 with the Sidewinder - the fastest airplane in the company's portfolio. Sidewinder is a low-wing, tandem twin-seater powered by the 100-hp Rotax 912S. Maximum speed is unknown but will probably not be too far from 300 km/h.


JMB Aircraft - Exhibit B1, 309
JMB will have its VL-3 on display with the retractable gear. JMB claims to be the world's fastest side-by-side UL aircraft sold in Europe in retractable and fixed-gear versions. JMB will also make the Friedrichshafen debut for the European market of the modified VL-3 version that is about to obtain the German UL certification.


C2P - Exhibit B4, 305
C2P is a Slovenian product development company that unveiled an all-carbon, two-plus-two aircraft called ONE three years ago at AERO. Now C2P will announce the decision to build the airplane itself for the European and U.S. markets. Two different versions of the ONE are planned: ONE as a two-seater and the ONE 2+2 as a two-plus-two-seater.

Rotax - Exhibit A3, 301
Rotax will be present at AERO through its German dealer, Franz Aircraft Engines Vertrieb GmbH, and has a press conference set for Friday, April 26.

For all aviation enthusiasts interested in the fuel-saving characteristics of the new Rotax 912iS, there are two opportunities for more information. Presentations are scheduled for Friday and Saturday afternoons, titled, "Fuel Savings of Rotax 912 iS in Field Operation."


D-Motor - Exhibit B2, 310
D-Motor hopes to present its latest development, the LF39, at AERO 2013. It's a six-cylinder, direct-drive, flat engine similar to the four-cylinder LF26. The presentation is still not certain pending delivery of a new crank and crankcase from a third party. This might become one of the most exciting new engines for the UL/LSA market.

I.C.P. aviation engine - Exhibit B4, 205
Well-known Italian kit and ready-to-fly aircraft manufacturer I.C.P. will launch a new UL/LSA engine, the ICP M09. The company unveiled the new two-cylinder, four-stroke engine to a limited audience a few months ago in Italy. Specifically for the LSA airplane, autogyro, and light helicopter market, the twin cylinder "V" engine will be shown in a definitive set-up. Probable power delivery of this M09 engine is supposed to be around 120 hp, but versions from 95 to 150 turbo hp are likely to follow very soon.




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