Aeroprakt A32 crosswind at Tyabb

Crosswind at TyabbYesterday there was a fairly strong and gusty crosswind on Tyabb’s 35/17 runway. The crosswind was made even more tricky as the wind was blowing from the north west over the hills and trees near the airfield, making for very uneven and turbulent conditions.

Quite by chance, Mike Rudd, our video producer, was there trying out a new video camera, capturing a couple of aircraft landing – but due to the conditions, there weren’t many up and about in the skies! However, my colleague Ido Segev was flying an A32 Vixxen demonstration with a prospective owner. (Thanks to Stuart for the loan of his aircraft).

This very short video (click the photo or here to view on YouTube) first shows a landing by a Beech Travelair twin, piloted as it turns out, by Roger Merridew, a very experienced pilot and owner of Lilydale Airfield. He is followed closely by Ido and his passenger (who was sitting in the left seat) in the A32 Vixxen.

It’s interesting to note the different techniques used to land each aircraft in what was a 12-15 knot gusting crosswind. In many ways, as you can see, the A32 Vixxen handles the conditions better than the Travelair. The secret to making a successful crosswind landing in the A32 Vixxen is speed management and the minimal use of flap. The aircraft was down safely and exited at the first cross-taxiway, about 70-75 metres from the threshold of runway 35.

Good demonstration Ido!

PS – the prospective customer placed an order after the flight!

Aeroprakt A32 1,000 nm ferry flight

ido-shaun-at-emeraldMy colleague Ido Segev and his friend Shaun just got home from an almost 1,000 nautical mile ferry flight of a new shiny Ferrari red Aeroprakt A32 Vixxen, registered VH-ACL, to its new owner Will Graham.

The aircraft is fitted with a Dynon SkyView system, including a 2-axis autopilot, transponder and fuel computer. In addition to the standard dual-watch VHF radio, the aircraft also has an 80-channel UHF radio, operating through the headsets.

ido-shaun-ferry-02Their flight took them from Moorabbin Airport, near Melbourne, via Temora and Parkes in New South Wales, to an overnight stop at St George in southern Queensland. Most of the flight was made at 8,500-9,500 feet AGL, which at times translated into a density altitude of over 11,000 feet. Said Ido: “Even at 7,500 feet were were still climbing in excess of 500 feet a minute – not bad with two of us, full fuel, luggage and some spare parts on board.” The next day, the weather wasn’t so kind, with strong headwinds and a 2,000 foot cloud base. Nevertheless they made good time and arrived at Emerald, Queensland, before lunch, after a short wait at Roma while some weather passed through.

Total flight distance was about 950 nautical miles with and average ground speed of slightly over 95 knots. Average fuel burn was a shade under 17 litres an hour. In metric fuel economy terms, that’s about 10.3 litres per 100 kilometres – not bad for an average speed of over 175 kilometres an hour! Ferrari and co, eat your hearts out!

The Kelpie

kelpie-copyFollowing the recent Australian launch of the Aeroprakt A22LS Kelpie, I received the following from Adrian Norman, of Cleveland Bay Aviation, near Townsville in north Queensland, one of our Foxbat Australia associates:

“The ancestors of the Kelpie were simply (black) dogs, called Colleys or Collies. The word “collie” has the same root as “coal” and “collier (ship)”. Some of these collies were imported to Australia for stock work in the early 19th century, and were bred to other types of dogs (possibly including the occasional Australian Dingo), but always with an eye to working sheep without direct supervision. Today’s Collie breeds were not formed until about 10 or 15 years after the Kelpie was established as a breed, with the first official Border Collie not brought to Australia until after Federation in 1901.

Kelpies are partly descended from Dingos, with 3–4% of their genes coming from this native Australian Dog. At the time of the origin of the Kelpie breed, it was illegal to keep dingoes as pets, some dingo owners registered their animals as Kelpies or Kelpie crosses. Kelpies and dingoes are similar in conformation and colouring. There is no doubt that some people have deliberately mated dingoes to their Kelpies, and some opinion holds that the best dilution is 1/16–1/32, but that 1/2 and 1/4 will work. As the Dingo has been regarded as a savage sheep-killer since the first European settlement of Australia, few will admit to the mating practice.

The first “Kelpie” was a black and tan female pup with floppy ears bought by Jack Gleeson in about 1872 from a litter born on Warrock Station near Casterton, owned by George Robertson, a Scot. This dog was named kelpie after the mythological shape shifting water spirit of Celtic folklore. Legend has it that this “Kelpie” was sired by a dingo, but there is little evidence for or against this. In later years she was referred to as “(Gleeson’s) Kelpie”, to differentiate her from “(King’s) Kelpie”, her daughter.”

So now you know!

 

A32 Vixxen – going well in Australia

8759 A blog A32 8703 01 blogThe ‘new’ Aeroprakt A32 Vixxen seems to have really caught the eye of pilots and buyers in Australia over the last 12 months, with 15 either delivered or on order since the first one arrived in Australia late last year.

New owners include three flying schools, a couple of country pilots (aircraft complete with UHF radios and sirens!) as well as private pleasure pilot owners – one already flew his A32 from southern Australia up through the Kimberley and back. For those unfamiliar with the geography of Australia, the Kimberley is a region of north western Australia famous for its scenic beauty and wild life, several thousand kilometres from the south coast.

So far we have the usual mix of colours – with yellow still the favourite, and orange not far behind. Then there are a couple of whites a red and a ‘flat’ green. But no blue as yet. And of course, there is the bright metallic green A32, which so many people have commented on. The videos and photos of this plane don’t do it justice – it really glows, particularly in the sunshine!

Interestingly, a higher proportion of A32s have been ordered with ballistic rescue systems fitted. In the A22 Foxbat fleet, maybe 1 in 15 has a parachute. So far, 1 in 3 of the A32s have parachutes. Why this should be is uncertain, as customers are quoting the same reason as for the A22 – passenger preservation should the pilot become incapacitated. Personally, I think it’s probably for the same reasons most of the parachutes in the 22 Foxbat are in earlier versions – owners wanted the extra insurance that the airframe is strong and reliable. In the last 40 A22 Foxbat orders, I think there has only been one request for a parachute – and one owner has actually removed the ‘chute to gain that extra 20 kilos of usable load.

Finally, the highest time A32 has now just passed 400 hours flight time – not bad in less than a year, although still a long way off the highest time A22 in Australia, which has now logged close to 6,500 hours!

Latest A32 Vixxen departs

Pumpkin leaves TyabbThe 5th Aeroprakt A32 Vixxen in Australia is on its way to its new owner in Broken Hill. Painted beautiful Pumpkin Orange – which looks particularly brilliant in the sun – the aircraft departed Tyabb on Saturday morning, ably piloted by Rob Hatswell, flying instructor at Gawler SA. Accompanied by his brother Peter, they made Horsham in double-quick time, cruising at 110 kts. After re-fuelling, they continued to Gawler, where the aircraft will be based while its new owner – Luke Mashford – does his conversion flying course.

Rob comments: “I’m amazed. The A32 only burned 33 litres from Tyabb to Horsham. That’s 17 litres less than the A22LS and an average of 20 knots faster. Yuriy has clearly waved his aerodynamic genius over the A32.”

Two more A32s are arriving at Moorabbin next week – another one for Broken Hill, plus a school aircraft for Coffs Harbour. More in due course.

Aeroprakt A22LS Pre-delivery flight check

A22LS Flight checkFollowing on from our recent A32 Vixxen flight check video, here’s another one – this time in a stick-controlled A22LS Foxbat.

As before, Mike Rudd accompanies me through a series of checks to ensure the aircraft performs as it should and is ready for its new owner.

Click the picture to view the video on YouTube. Watch at the highest resolution you can, to see the figures on the dials

Borodyanka Fly-in 2015

BorodyankaIt’s good to view some fly-in aerial activity from the other side of the world – in this case, near Borodyanka (sometimes spelled ‘Borodianka’) which is located to the north west of Kiev in the Ukraine. Here is a very nicely made little video which captures well the feeling of a local fly-in. [Click the picture to see the video]

Sitting where I am, wrapped up in my warm woolies and scarf in the middle of a Melbourne winter, the clear sunny summer skies look very inviting! There’s an interesting mix of aircraft at this fly-in, from an aerobatic Sukhoi through various Cessnas to some offerings (of course) from Aeroprakt. CEO Yuriy Yakovlyev arrives in his personal A36 and there are examples of the A22, A32 and the seaplane A24. There’s even a short display by Aeroprakt with smoke trails from the aircraft…I must ask them to send me a smoke kit for my demonstrator.

Roll on summer in Australia!