I am ready to commit homicide on the wireless in this place I'm sending - or attempting to send - from. More later, as I start for the third time in three days to get a single blogpost to upload after hours of working on it! Computers! A pox on all of them.
Okay, on to the good stuff.
Sebring is alive and well and gliding along better than ever. More than I can say for the wireless where I've tried to post since Thursday night, so today (Sat), you get two point five posts for the price of one.
First bit of news: Opening day Thursday was the best attended in the show’s eight year history (not five years as I doofishly reported the other day). Aiding and abetting: beautiful, absolutely beautiful weather. No hurricanes, no clouds of leaflets from Republican Presidential hopefuls, just a lavishly enjoyable (for us snowbirds at least) 70 degrees, with a steady 10 knot wind a good part of the day, followed by a crisp, clear night. Thank the Maker.
BRM Bristell S-LSA (yes, it’s ASTMified). A very, very sweet ship. Think second generation Piper Sport nee SportCruiser, since the low-wing monoplane bears a design familiarity of clean, attractive lines and is, if not a sibling, certainly a cousin to that seminal Czech design.
Bristell designer Milan Bristela is here at the show with John Calla to give the airplane some street cred. Milan co-designed the original SportCruiser and is full designer of this new airplane. Clearly he’s incorporated many things we’ve all learned along the way, including about the roomiest low-wing cockpit, at 51", I’ve had the pleasure to fly.
That’s just frosting on the cake, though: if the SportCruiser/Piper Sport is a light, playful airplane that lands itself, rolls around the sky with enjoyable and docile characteristics, the Bristell really feels like a GA airplane. All three axes are beautifully harmonized, the stick feel and responsiveness are both muted and lively. I mean it’s neither twitchy like a spring colt nor sluggish like a one-track dray horse, but both smooth and firm in control handling, and wonderfully quick to jump to your commands.
Many thoughtful features like a painted sun screen built into the canopy top, 600 lb. useful load, lovely aerodynamics, 1000+ fpm climb, sturdy, sturdy tricycle gear, outsized GA-robust landing gear with Goodyear tires, very lively nosewheel steering (a little too twitchy, but as my endlessly energetic demo host, former C-130 Special Ops driver John Rathwell was quick to tell me, a simple tweak is in the works for that), and all in all, quite an airplane.
|European LAMA board member Jan Fridrich catches our low photo pass at Sebring. Thanks Jan! Nobody ever shoots the photographer!|
Alright, that’s way too much for an airplane blog post so let’s move on:
|FK12 Comet folds its wings.|
|Randy Lervold showing how it's done.|
|Day for night|
Highlights for Friday included catching up with Charles Stites of Able Flight, that wonderful organization that underwrites, with four types of scholarships, the flying dreams of disabled people. Seven more dedicated and determined people, including a deaf woman and a multiple combat amputee successfully negotiated Sport Pilot training to defy the odds.
|Roger Crow's CTLE|
Another guy who always lifts my spirits is Boris Popov, founder of BRS parachutes. Boris and I go back more decades than either of us care to acknowledge, when I first began extolling the virtues of the ballistic ‘chute concept he successfully brought to market.
How good would you feel to wake up every morning and know something you created had incontestably saved hundreds of lives over the years. Yeah. Way cool.
|Sebring Expo showgrounds above the CarbonCub SS|
|And th-th-that’s all folks.|
I’ll be flying the Comet tomorrow for a future report. What a very cool bipe indeed.
Finally, because it’s bed time for yours truly, Randy Lervold of Cubcrafters and his superb pilot Clay (didn’t get his last name) helped me get an air2air session with their wildly popular Carbon Cub SS. The light couldn’t have been better, and ditto goes for the formation skills of both pilots. Every formation shoot ought to go this well.
Here’s a sample, judge for yourself.
Tomorrow, looking forward to shooting my old friend the Flight Design CTLS, thanks to another old friend Tom Peghiny. The CT sports a new dual-panel SkyView deck. Managing Director of the successful European company, Matthias Betch, is in town for the show.