Innovation on Display at AERO Through Saturday
April 25, 2013 - The 21st AERO Friedrichshafen, Europe's largest light aviation and GA air show, opened in Germany on Wednesday and runs through Saturday.
About 30,000 aviation enthusiasts are expected to attend this year and see AERO's wide variety of flying machines on display - from gliders, ultralights, and powered aircraft to helicopters and business jets. AERO's 630 exhibitors from 35 countries use the show as a platform to present new products and innovations.
Adding to his preview filed earlier this month, EAA European Correspondent Marino Boric reports from opening day at AERO:
|Jihlavan Airplanes s.r.o. - Exhibit B3, 301
Czech Republic manufacturer Jihlavan Airplanes s.r.o. debuted its mid-line Skyleader 400. The airplane design is inspired by sports cars and features unusual details such as a side-opening canopy and aggressive cowl. The Skyleader 400 is powered by a Rotax fuel-injected engine and with its 120-liter fuel tank has a range of more than 930 miles.
|ES Modelltechnik - Exhibit B2 , 221
German manufacturer ES Modelltechnik debuted the low-wing, all-composite ES-Futura. Maiden flight of the airplane was last fall and German UL certification is expected in just few months. Owner Ekkehard Schmidt pays extraordinary attention to precise manufacturing of even the smallest details to improve the aerodynamic qualities of the airplane. The Rotax-powered airplane will be delivered factory-built but will also likely be offered as a kit.
|Triavio s.r.l. - Exhibit B2, 139
Triavio, which hails from Sicily, launched its all-metal, low-wing aircraft called Italo. The retractable gear UL/LSA features slotted flaps for low stall speed and Rotax 912iS engine for low fuel consumption. The Italo should be offered as European UL and as experimental category aircraft.
|Yuneec - Exhibit B2, 229
Yuneec's eSpyder E280 single-seat ultralight debuted here last year, and it's back in 2013 as what the company claims is the world's first certified electric airplane. With German DULV certification awarded in February 2013, the eSpyder provides practical, affordable recreational flying with clean, quiet electric power. It combines a proven airframe design with the Yuneec 24-kilowatt electric power system that can lift a 220-pound payload at an initial climb rate of 6.23 feet per second. Maximum speed is 56 mph, with an economical cruise speed of 37 mph. Flights as long as an hour are possible, with a 30-minute reserve still available upon landing. Batteries can be charged in about two hours.
Yuneec plans to begin production and sales of the eSpyder this year, and the company expects certification later this year for its two-seat E430 composite electric airplane.
|EuroSportAircraft - Exhibit B2, 235
This Portuguese aircraft manufacturer is introducing the Crossover, perhaps the most unusual aircraft at the show this year. The all-composite, two-seat, electric-powered plane has glider-like wings and is powered by two electric motors mounted on two retractable pylons fixed onto the fuselage that can fold behind the wing. The Crossover is powered by two synchronous three-phase permanent magneto motors with a takeoff rating of 40 kilowatts. Each can deliver 30 kilowatts of power in cruise flight.
Electric motors drive two-bladed propellers powered by four lithium-technology batteries. Crossover features an electric motor-assisted canopy and an electric retractable landing gear. Three sets of wings will be available for this aircraft: two "base" wings of 31.5 feet or 49.21 feet plus a special telescopic wing with span variation system. The Crossover could be flown only electrically, or it can be fitted with a range extender that consists of an internal combustion engine with electric generator (Wankel/single rotor combustion engine). Empty weight is 643.75 pounds, while the MTOW is 1,322.8 pounds. Cruise speed is 124.274-136.7 mph.
|Marc Ingegno - Exhibit B3, 228
Marc Ingegno, an Italian aircraft components and subassemblies supplier, was not known as aircraft manufacturer until now. The company's interpretation of the Polish Wilga is a UL/LSA called the Parrot. According to the manufacturer, Parrot can take off and land in as little as 150 feet from an unimproved airstrip. The rugged, aggressive-looking aircraft can be powered by the Rotax 912 engine range or Mark Ingegno's own 120-hp 912 turbo conversion. The 670-pound aircraft flew for the first time last week. Price of this "all-terrain" factory-built plane is also aggressive: $58,885 (normally aspirated) or $85,000 with the turbocharged engine.
|Tecnam - Exhibit A4, 319-317
It's Tecnam's 65th birthday this year, but the company gave AERO a present with the debut of its UL/LSA Astore. A gala presentation ceremony featured the entire Tecnam team, which carries the same name as the first airplane Luigi Pascale designed 65 years ago in engineering school. The new two-seat, all-metal LSA will be powered either by the new Rotax 912iS or 914 turbo engine. Priced at $134,900, each Astore delivery will include an Apple iPad loaded with stored checklists, loading calculations, and operation manuals.
|SMA/Safran - Exhibit A3-122
French engine manufacturer SMA/Safran, whose four-cylinder diesel SMA SR305-230E made news at Oshkosh last year as the chosen powerplant for the new Cessna Turbo Skylane NXT, showed that engine's "big brother" at AERO 2013 - the six-cylinder SR460. Very little is known about the new SR460 - the company says is doesn't want to compromise negotiations with "important OEM" manufacturers. What SMA brought to AERO is an "advanced project state" engine that uses several new components as well as some from the four-cylinder.
The new engine differs from the four-cylinders because its "hot" parts - the exhaust manifolds are now above the engine. The two turbochargers are behind the engine, making the whole package very flat. The engine will weigh 595 pounds dry and deliver 330 to 400 hp. The engine will begin production at the end of 2014 with FAA/EASA certification planned in 2015. SMA will target the twin-engine market initially. Maximum ceiling is 25,000 feet, and full power will be delivered up to 10,000 feet.
|Aerospool - Exhibit B3-111
A fter two years of development, Slovakian manufacturer Aerospool debuted its Advantic WT10 three- to four-seat kit plane - a "big brother" of the WT-9 twin-seater (about 500 sold since 2001). First flight was just days before AERO - April 11. Empty weight will be 860 pounds, while the MTOW for the three-place will be 1,653 pounds and 1,873 pounds for the four-place.
Aerospool intends to offer the Advantic WT10 only as a kit. The Advantic WT10 kit concept is similar to the Dynamic WT9 kit. Main parts of the aircraft structure - such as the wing and fuselage - will be delivered already built. The first prototype Advantic WT10 is powered by the Rotax 914 engine and hydraulically controlled MT propeller. According to the designer W. Tadeus, WT10 already reached the top speed of 161 mph with the Rotax turbocharged engine and showed excellent flying characteristics. Pricing for the kit was not announced, but our guess is $104,000-$130,000.
|Nimbus - Exhibit B3, 122
Nimbus of northern Italy produces an innovative family of unmanned aircraft that combine the characteristics of a traditional fixed-wing airplane with those of a hang glider and a balloon. Nimbus Eos UAVs are easy to pilot and can be transported wherever needed. Nimbus uses helium in an inflated "soft wing" to create lift. The "fuselage" and its tail are conventional but unconventionally attached to the "soft wing." In any case Nimbus UAV does not need a runway, and can hover with no engine running - if weather conditions allow.
Eos aircraft can be stored in a small space because the "wing" can be collapsed, making it transportable in a passenger van. The Nimbus Eos UAS is comprised of three subsystems: the aircraft, the sensor suite, and the required ground support equipment. Nimbus payload ranged from 13.2 pounds to 28.7 pounds, depending on the version. Flight duration with a two-stroke engine is 1.5-3 hours. Look for the worldwide patented design in the Innovations Gallery at AirVenture 2013.
|TechProAviation - Exhibit B3, 301
This Czech aircraft manufacturer debuted the Merlin Micro single-seater at AERO. Merlin Micro is the adaptation of the Merlin UL for the deregulated 120-kilogram class in Germany. The all-metal taildragger is powered by the Thor 200 engine that develops 29 hp for a cruise speed of 75 mph, 96 mph max. Merlin Micro will be sold as ready-to-fly for $20,000 or in a kit for $7,100. Maiden flight is expected by the end of this year.
|A2 CZ - Exhibit B3, 209
This Czech manufacturer debuted its first aircraft two years ago at AERO, and this year showed the Ellipse Spirit - German UL and LSA versions available in fixed or retractable gear versions. A composite, low-wing two-seater, its wing is a real eye-catcher with its the rounded wingtips, slots built in the outer portion of the wings. Spirit also has air brakes similar to those found on most gliders.
The manufacturer has widened the choice of engines: Besides the Rotax 912S and UL-Power engines, the Lycoming 233 LSA engine is now being used, targeting the United States LSA and experimental markets. Ready-to-fly priced from $97,530; $38,361 for the kit. A2 CZ is a possible AirVenture Oshkosh participant this year.
|Celier Aviation Sp. z o.o. - Exhibit B4, 201
In mid-2006, the French gyroplane company was relocated to Poland adopting the new name Celier Aviation. On December 12, 2011, Raphael Celier attained sole legal rights for the manufacture of all genuine Celier Aviation products. According to Celier Aviation, all rights of the Xenon autogyros and their derivatives are reserved exclusively to the company. At the emotionally loaded press conference during AERO, the company intimated that it is now under new management and is restarting its market presence with the introduction of the brand new Celier IV autogyro.
|German Gyro Safety Aviation - Exhibit B4, 101
German Gyro Safety Aviation, based in Menden, Germany, unveiled the MATTO - what the company claims to be the world's first gyrocopter fitted with a ballistic parachute integrated rescue system. Because the considerable difficulties of installation of ballistic parachute, they are not mandatory for autogyros as in fixed-wing aircraft in Germany. In a proprietary solution, the parachute is stowed in the central pole of the rotor.
German Gyro intentionally designed a new rotor head with special 8-inch roller bearings. In an emergency, the rescue system is pyrotechnically shot out of the rotor head so the parachute opens far away of the rotor blades. MATTO, with 1,234 pounds MTOW, is powered by the 130-hp UL Power engine.
|Italian Rotors Industries - Exhibit A6, 211
IRI claims that after years of testing it has created an innovative helicopter project. The company displayed at AERO two similar, stealth-looking helicopters, the T22.1 and T130. Under their carbon-fiber skin they differ significantly. The T22.1 model is an entry-level, $58,000 transformation kit for the Robinson R22 helicopter, making the R22 considerably lighter and eligible to fly in the European ultralight category. The T130 is IRI's own project targeting customers looking for elegance, functionality, and a luxurious product.
Both T22.1 and T130 are available in two versions: instruction and utility. The instruction version is equipped with dual controls targeting flight schools; the "utility" version has single controls. IRI helicopters - especially the T130 model - are powered by the MwFly 130 flat-four engine that delivers 130 hp.
This North Italian company was known only to market insiders until few days ago. Konner is using AERO 2013 to launch two interesting products - the TK250 diesel turboshaft turbine engine and the K1 helicopter. The TK250 develops 250 takeoff hp and 230 maximum continuous hp with the turbine spinning at 60,800 rpm and the output shaft at 2,300 rpm. Basic weight is 110 pounds and it has a PMI overhaul interval of 2,000 hours.
According to Konner, the TK250 can run on diesel, biodiesel, JP-1, and JP-4 fuels. Price was not disclosed, and Konner says it will sell only to OEMs with delivery to licensed dealers only.
Konner showcased its new K1 helicopter for the first time, equipped with a TK250. The helicopter features a monolithic carbon-fiber structure, a three-bladed, bearings-less, semi-articulated rotor and redundant digital instrumentation. According to the manufacturer, the empty weight is 638 pounds, and the MTOW is 990 pounds, which comes in beneath the weight maximum of the European ultralight category.
Fuel capacity is 271 pounds and range without reserve is 320 nautical miles. IGE hover ceiling is 10,000 feet, while the maximum operating altitude is 15,000 feet. Pricing for the first 50 units is $325,675, and Konner is "strongly considering" attending the next AirVenture.