There are many models of automobile that you can identify on site, no
matter what the year. Corvette, Volkswagen Beetle, Austin Mini are just
a few. These models have developed a name for themselves for style,
dependability, fuel economy etc.
We in the ultralight and light sport community also have a number of
aircraft that have developed a following and thus have carved their own
little niche markets. At the forefront of these is a little single seat
craft the the T Bird.
T Bird 1 specifications
||154. sq. ft.
I had a chance to talk to Bret Kivell of Indy Aircraft who
manufacturers the T Bird line of light sport and experimental aircraft
at Airventure 2007.
According to Bret T Bird is celebrating it's 25th year of production.
The T Bird like the Volkswagen Beetle, is very unique in design and
stands out in a crowd. But unlike the Beetle the T Bird didn't have to
Very little has changed on the T Bird over the past quarter century.
Yes like anything else the design has undergone various improvements,
but to look at a plane 25 years ago, and look at it today a pilot would
not be able to physically tell them apart.
This shows that the design has stood the test of time! It also shows
that if you build a light sport or experimental aircraft that can be:
- built by someone in less than a month working at a leisurely pace.
- using only basic hand tools that you would find in the average
- that requires no more knowledge than that of building a big erector
- with a price that is within the reach of most pilots!
Then you have a recipe for success. The T Bird uses bolt together,
aluminum tube construction, covered in dacron sail cloth. Controls are
standard stick and rudder using a Yoke with a left hand throttle. Power
for the single place T Bird starts with the 40 HP Rotax 447, but most
pilots will opt for the 50 HP Rotax 503, while those really looking for
a rocket ship will equip their planes with the Rotax 65 HP 582!
No matter what you power the T Bird single place with it has shown
for over 25 years that it can do just about anything you ask of it.
Whether flying on wheels, floats, or skis!
The T Bird is also a "convertible" that is it is available as either
a tail dragger or a tri-cycle gear. Or can be converted between either
in as little as an hour!
Indy Aircraft is currently offering the T Bird single place as an
Experimental Aircraft under the 51% rule. The company is just completing
new manuals etc for the plane and expects to have it available as a
Lightsport Aircraft in the very near future.
All this has made the T Bird, with it's very distinctive design very
successful! How successful? Bret estimates that there "are over 2,000 T
Birds flying worldwide."
For more information contact:
601 - 17th Street SE
Independence , IA 50644