Flying with my grandchildren

On New Year’s Eve I spent the most wonderful day flying in a Foxbat with my grandchildren and their mother (my eldest daughter) and her partner. All the grandchildren wanted a second flight, so I must have been doing something right. But then again, it’s quite difficult to do something wrong in a Foxbat! What a magical day….

Click on the picture to view; enable HD and expand to full screen to enjoy to the max!

 

 

New Foxbat demonstrator flies over 13th beach

Here are a few short seconds of our new A22LS Foxbat demonstrator in flight. After less than a month in the air, it’s already completed 25 hours’ flying and is currently having its first maintenance check.

This is the first Foxbat demonstrator we’ve had which is fitted with an AirMaster in-flight electrically adjustable propeller – this one with Whirlwind blades. We are evaluating the propeller before formally offering it as an option – our first impressions are that take-off distance is shorter, and climb is significantly better than with the standard KievProp; economy is slightly better. We will also evaluate this propeller on the A32 Vixxen in due course, where in addition to take-off and climb performance, we are predicting an improvement in cruise speed.

The demo Foxbat aircraft is also fitted with a glider tow hook and we will be undertaking towing trials in the near future in Victoria, Australia. This aircraft has oversize wheels, a 30kgs ‘Kelpie’ metal luggage compartment with a side door and a ballistic rescue system. The icing on this demonstrator cake is a 2-axis Dynon autopilot which will be connected with a GPS as soon as we can keep the aircraft on the ground long enough to fit one!

Come and see this aircraft along with the A32 Vixxen at the Australian International Airshow, at Melbourne’s Avalon Airport from 26 February to 03 March this year.

As usual, either click on the image above or here to view the video: Foxbat over 13th beach

A22LS Foxbat Rudder Cables

Back in April 2018 I published an item covering the issue of an Aeroprakt Safety Alert concerning inspections and possible replacement of the rudder cables on A22LS aircraft. You can read the article by clicking here: Rudder Cable Safety Alert or the Bulletin itself here: Aeroprakt SB A22LS-17

Following the issue of the Alert, we submitted a pair of the broken cables and a length of new cable to the ATSB for testing and examination. You can view a copy of their report by clicking here: ATSB Report Rudder Cable Analysis Results

The ATSB Report reaches the following conclusions:

  • The primary cause of the RH cable fracture was fatigue, resulting in overstress of the remaining wires.
  • The LH cable was unserviceable (based on manufacturer requirements) due to deformation and wire fractures that were already apparent.
  • The cables and pulleys provided to the ATSB were compliant with the manufacturer’s specifications (pending chemical analysis results).
  • Most of the fatigue would have occurred prior to the accident flight, and it is likely that some would have been present at the last 200-hourly cable inspection (1600 hours).
  • Fatigue in both cables may have been accelerated by the cable running around a smaller diameter pulley than is recommended.

In Summary – please ensure your rudder cables are correctly inspected every 200 hours per the Safety Alert and Maintenance Manual. This does NOT mean a quick glance and a ‘twang’ of the cables behind the seats! At any sign of wear or broken cable strands,  both rudder cables must be replaced.

Finally, please note that the incident aircraft was registered 24-7930 – not, as erroneously stated in the report, 24-7390.

A22L Foxbat gross weight increase

I have good news for all Australian owners of A22L (450 kilo MTOW limit) Foxbats!

With the new RAAus MARAP system (Modification and Repair Approval Process), a review to increase the gross weight limit (sometimes called the maximum take-off weight (MTOW)) of RAAUS  registered Aeroprakt A22L Foxbat aircraft from 450 kilograms (472.5 kilograms if a ballistic rescue system is fitted) to 525 kilograms has been conducted and now approved.

During the review of the A22L for an increase up to the 525 kilograms  MTOW there is a small ‘G’ limit penalty: the maximum limits are reduced from +4G and -2G to +3.6G and -1.8G respectively. In effect, this means you need to observe manoeuvring and rough air limits closely to ensure you do not exceed these lower limits.

No structural or other changes are required to the aircraft.

To obtain the increased weight limit on your A22L aircraft, please contact the technical team at RAAus – phone number 02 6280 4700 or email to tech@raa.asn.au – and request the necessary documentation. This includes a supplementary page for your pilot manual and an entry to the manual revisions page.

RAAus will make a charge for this service but I’m sure you’ll find the extra – legal – 75 kilograms well worth it!

Please note, this increase is not relevant to the Aeroprakt A22LS Foxbat, which already has a gross weight limit of 600 kilos and ‘G’ limits of +4 -2

Video introduction the A22LS ‘Kelpie’

kelpie-in-flightI recently mentioned the introduction of the new Aeroprakt A22LS ‘Kelpie’ from Foxbat Australia – here’s a short video with more information about the aircraft.

The video focuses on the differences between the Kelpie and the popular A22LS Foxbat on which it’s based. The Kelpie is aimed more at farmers and landowners but even if you aren’t one of them, and still want a Kelpie – don’t feel you’re ‘barking’ mad! The Kelpie retains all the great characteristics of the Foxbat – fantastic short field performance, almost helicopter-like view out, massive light & airy cabin, great load carrying capability and sweet slow speed handling.

Add to that the fat tyres, rubber mud flaps, sturdy metal luggage bay (placarded at 30 kgs), climb prop, Australian Warning Systems siren and UHF radio through the headsets and you’re close to an unbeatable utility aircraft. Almost 200 Australian Aeroprakt owners can’t be wrong!

The Foxbat and Kelpie are factory-built and supported aircraft.

PS – To my UK friends, the Australian Kelpie is a famous working farm dog, not a type of mythical water-horse!

[To see the video, click on the link above or on the photo]

New control lock for Y-stick Foxbat

A22 control lock 01

A22 stick control lock – click photo for larger view

Foxbat Australia has been working with a professional aviation control-lock company to develop a new system for locking the single handle and Y-stick control version of the aircraft. The result is a secure method of locking the flaperon/elevator control stick, suitable for use when the aircraft is parked outside – overnight or longer. This system is not suitable for twin control yoke A22 aircraft.

You may recall that as well as instructions in the A22 Pilot Operating handbook (POH) a recent factory mandatory service bulletin advises that when a stick-control aircraft is parked outside, the metal lock-pin must be supplemented with control surface clamps to ensure there is no damage to the elevator rod-end connection due to wind gusts. However, while it is relatively easy to clamp the flaperons at the wing tips, clamping the elevator has proved more difficult.

Without access to suitable surface clamps, a number of owners have preferred to remove the lock-pin and instead use the seat belts to lock the controls when the aircraft is parked outside. Nevertheless, the inconvenience of continually adjusting the seat belts, after they have been used to lock the controls, may cause some pilots/owners not to lock the controls properly. Also, some owners do not like the elevator ‘up’ position which results from locking the controls with the seat belts.

Worse yet, some owners still rely on the lock-pin even in adverse conditions – risking potentially disastrous damage to the elevator rod-end connection.

A22 control lock 03

A22 stick control lock kit – click photo for larger view

The new control/gust lock system is an excellent solution to ensuring that your A22 can be parked safely outside in all normal wind conditions, without the need to use either the metal lock-pin, seat belts or surface clamps. It holds the flaperons in a neutral position with the elevator ‘down’.

The new lock consists of a red adjustable looped strap, which fits and tightens over the stick. This loop is attached to two forward extending straps which are positively anchored via ‘pin-and-eye’ fixtures (not press-studs) on each side of the centre tunnel. The eyes on the strap ends are quickly pushed into their locked position and are released by pulling down on the strap end. The loop round the stick is adjustable and is also easily tightened and released. Each part of the strap system is labelled ‘Remove before flight’ and can be easily attached and removed from left or right seats.

Installation is very simple, requiring only the drilling of an additional hole each side to accommodate the anchoring pin bolts – which also utilise an existing hole.

Now, here’s the good news: during the introductory period until the end of April 2016, the price will be A$55 including 10% GST. After the introductory period, the price will be A$75 including GST. This price includes everything you need to fit the system and full installation instructions. Postage will be charged at cost.

If you want one of these control locks, please email info@foxbat.com.au with your name and address to confirm your order. You can pay directly with PayPal or with your credit card via Paypal – we’ll send you instructions.