Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pack of Phoenix

Flocks of birds have all sorts of names.  Covey, gaggle, mob, band, flight, murder, skien, and the recent videos of murmerations of starlings on YouTube.  So what do we call our group of Phoenix?  Well, pack sounds good, so that is what I'll use until someone comes up with a better idea.  Anyway, several Phoenix affectionados have chastised me for the lack of blog posts, and one even asked if we were ok.  So yes, we are doing fine, thanks, just very busy bringing in the Phoenix and doing the myriad details required before the hand off, and training.  Too busy to even deal with new sales orders, but they keep coming in anyway!  As reported in, of the 90 different LSA manufacturers producing 127 different aircraft, Phoenix Air ranked 6th in new registrations so far this year!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

How to Test Fly a Phoenix

 After making last minute adjustments to the new avionics, launch late out of Merritt Island airport headed home to Melbourne.  Make sure that a nice size storm is on the doorstep of Merritt, but still ok to the south at Melbourne.

 Make just a few minor autopilot adjustments and maneuvers to see that the basics are working.
Meanwhile the storm gets closer.  Time to head for the barn.

 On the ground ahead of the storm (just barely).

 Time to get the long wingtips off and push the Phoenix into the hangar.

Close the hangar door and head home for a beer.  Test flight complete!

Monday, July 16, 2012


 John and Ed's Phoenix sports a panel with the V7 variometer, Ultimate LE, AvMap, and TruTrak autopilot.

 Who has more wingspan?

 As the weather moves in, that's all for today.

The days start early to beat the storms.

 Well at least we squeezed in a few more hours of training before the afternoon storms.

 John inserts the long wingtip.

 N48GD arrives.  John and Ed helped with the unloading and learned more about the Phoenix.

Flying with Dave

 N24PG and N41AS share side by side hangars.

 After obtaining his glider rating without any soaring, Dave decided to take some soaring lessons in the Phoenix.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

John Travels from Australia to Unload a Phoenix

 OK, John didn't exactly fly all the way to the US to help me unload the latest new Phoenix from the container.  He flew over to check out the plane after placing an order, and the container just happened to arrive while he was here.  We flew almost 10 hours together, which included some nice soaring conditions.

All of the parts are strapped to the floor of the container.  Form fitting foam surrounds everything.  Special welded steel brackets attach to the main wheels, and the brackets are bolted to the floor of the container.  We are satisfied that the Phoenix will continue to arrive unharmed, but if a hurricane blocks the way we would be happy to delay the container arrival in order for the boat captain to avoid the bad weather.

The Phoenix sits ready for new avionics installations at Sebastian Communications.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Airports with Mogas

Mogas, otherwise known as unleaded no ethanol or E0 fuel is available at an increasing number of airports these days.  Light sport aircraft with the Rotax engine has something to do with it.  You can find a map listing the airports that carry mogas at this link:

The Rotax engine is approved for up to 10% ethanol.  The various Phoenix fuel components and fuel tank are also protected from up to 10% ethanol.  However, ehtanol has such a corrosive nature to plastic, rubber, and composite materials that it is best to stay away from it.
Here in Melbourne, we have 3 gas stations that carry 90 and 93 octane E0 fuel.  Four 5gallon jugs typically last 2 weeks around here, so it is not a big deal to ferry fuel to the hangar.  The 100hp 912ULS engine requires 91octane minimum so we use premium.  E0 gas stations are usually located near marinas, airports, and racetracks.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ready for Certification

Ed's plane is ready for certification tomorrow morning.  The FAA DAR will arrive to check over the plane and the paperwork, and issue the S-LSA airworthiness certificate.

 Ed chose the silver upholstery, a popular choice.

 We still have to do a few things to get ready for the certification.  Finish going over the paperwork, make copies for the DAR, install the wheelpants, and a few placards.

The custom panel utilizes the Dynon Skyview with autopilot and the V7 variometer.  Ed will make the flight home with his IPad and Foreflight in addition to the Skyview.  A soaring computer will be mounted in the center panel at a later date.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Phoenix 11th Place in the US OLC

We were very pleased to see the Phoenix flight scoring 11th place in the US OLC on Saturday!  OLC stands for On Line Contest, and is open to pilots around the world.  All you have to do is sign up, and fly with a flight data recorder which records the flight.  Most recorders come with an engine noise monitor, which shows when the engine was run during the flight, and can validate a soaring flight without the engine.  My Nano is an IGC recorder which monitors engine noise.  It is very small, and easy to use.
80 pilots in the US submitted flights on Saturday, so 11th place is pretty darn good - hope you don't mind a little horn tooting here.
We get asked over and over "how good a glider is the Phoenix"?  This flight shows that the Phoenix is capable of pretty respectable flights.  Since this flight occured in Florida with low cloud bases and comparatively weak lift, think what is possible out west!

Points  name  km fai-km  km/h  Takeoff location  Club  Aircraft

1 498.28 Tim Taylor 451.52 388.4 100.51 Logan-Cache (US / 9) NUTSO Ventus 2
2 490.03 Bruno Vassel  438.06 385.6 96.63 Logan-Cache (US / 9) NUTSO ASW 27
3 487.91 Bob Faris  445.22 256.1 134.42 Boulder CO (US / 9) Soaring Society of B... LS 3
4 486.81 Nicolas Bennet  511.97 240.7 102.78 Seminole Lake  Antares 20m
5 453.86 Greg Shugg  355.12 314.0 68.48 Pierson FL  Eagle Sport Aviation... Std. Cirrus
6 444.49 Robert Caldwell 465.04 198.2 116.77 Boulder CO  Ventus 2cT/1

7 438.47 Robin Clark  408.42 261.0 82.38 Herlong FL  North Florida Soarin... LS 6
8 434.16 Colin J Barry 416.53 174.6 100.36 Boulder CO   Society of B... Discus 2
9 418.15 Ken Sorenson  403.53 243.9 79.71 Soaring Club Houston... Ventus 2ax
10 415.99 Mike Ziaskas  399.45 152.2 89.32 Warner Springs Glide... Discus
11 409.69 James Lee  277.29 4.3 56.11 Seminole Lake  Seminole Lakes... Phoenix

Sunday, April 29, 2012

165 Mile Soaring Flight

Yesterday I flew over to Seminole Lake Gliderport.  All of the usual suspects were gearing up for a pretty good soaring day.  I declared a Diamond Goal distance flight to Valdosta, GA, a distance of 186 miles.  After motoring up and then engine shut down for a start at 2400', we (Phoenix and I) headed north.  The anticipated winds never materialized, so the flight plodded north at a slow pace.  Clouds started off at 3000' and then slowly rose to over 6000' by the day's end.  The nice clouds ended south of Lake City, and I struggled to stay aloft for another 40 miles or so without their help.  The soaring flight ended 10 miles short of the Georgia border, and has been posted on the OLC, which you can see here:

 Nice clouds for most of the flight.  The Nano IGC flight recorder is seen here taped to the compass.

After the clouds ended, the only course was using the "blind man in the forest" technique.  (A blind man walking through a forest will eventually run into a tree).  Once I got lower, flying over brown fields worked a little. 

When the lift ran out and my altitude dropped to 1500' it was time to restart the engine since I was not near an airport at the time.  Since I had been soaring for 5 hours, I switched to the other battery for the engine start.  This is a shot of the Integra during the flight home to Melbourne using the autopilot to relax and eat on the way home.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Seminole Lake Gliderport

The owners of Seminole Lake Gliderport live in this beautiful house on the edge of the 3000' runway. How would you like to live in a place like this (with a Phoenix parked in your front yard)??!!!!

FAA Examiner Bob Burbank received a check out in the Phoenix. He is looking forward to giving glider rating exams in the Phoenix. His final comment? "When I win the lottery I have to have one of these!"

Gliderport owner Andreea flew the Phoenix for over an hour. Her comment? "This was the most fantastic flight in an aircraft that I have ever had!"

Heading back home to Melburne after a terrific day at the gliderport.

It takes 2 hours to drive from Melbourne to Seminole Lake. Phoenix flight time is 30 minutes. Gotta love it!

Sebring LSA Expo

Phoenix Air booth at the Sebring Expo. We had lots of interest in the Phoenix which really stood out amid the piles of "regular planes". 8 people took demo flights, and some appear to be serious buyers.

The feathering prop always drew interest especially from airplane pilots not used to seeing this.

Ed and Lee try the Phoenix on for size. Ed is about 6' 3" and owns one of the original Aerocars, which is a flying car from about 40 years ago.

Perennial airshow favorites Al and Susan flew their Citabria to the show from Marathon Key.

My tallest ever Phoenix demo flight pilot is 6'6". I told him there was no way he was going to fit in the plane, but somehow his body dimensions allowed him to not only fit, but enjoy the flight. An owner would not want to be this tall due to the amount of airtime he will have in the plane. But it is nice to know that occassional extra tall passengers will fit! Phoenix Air is considering ways to increase the cockpit length even more.