Phoenix motorglider light sport aircraft, Phoenix motor glider LSA or lightsport aircraft, Light Sport Aircraft Pilot News newsmagazine.

Light Sport Aircraft Pilot is a directory of aircraft that generally fit into what are described as ultralight aircraft, advanced ultralight aircraft, light sport aircraft, experimental light sport aircraft, experimental aircraft, amateur built aircraft, ELSA or homebuilt aircraft in the United States and Canada. These include weight shift aircraft, more commonly known as trikes, powered parachutes, and powered para-gliders.

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Phoenix motorglider light sport aircraft, experimental lightsport, amateur built aircraft.

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Viewed on the ramp, you see a beautiful, streamlined fuselage.  Long slender 15 meter wings have full span flaperons and are mounted low on the fuselage. 

The wingtips end in nice looking vertical winglets.  The wing extensions are long, and provide for a hangar span of 34 feet when removed.  Every part of the Phoenix motorglider shows attention to detail and streamlining. 

The front cowling transitions into the canopy without an angle change.  The cockpit area slowly tapers into the aft fuselage, providing a nice long airflow recovery section. 

Much attention has been devoted to drag reduction.  The lower bib cowling is clean around the engine, with the exception of the required engine cooling port.  The gear legs are flush with the bottom of the fuselage, and the legs themselves are clean and strong.  The wheel fairings look extremely well designed, and since you don?t stand on the gear leg to get in, the pants should stay unblemished too. 

The low wing means that you step up onto the wing from the rear and then have an easy step down into the cockpit. The first thing you notice inside are the plush, black leather appointments, much like a luxury automobile.  There are 2 map pockets on each side, and a large glove box on the panel.  A stretched cockpit provides ample leg and headroom for a 6?2? pilot.  The center console which houses the flap, airbrake, and trim levers is very ergonomic, allowing easy access to these controls from both seats, and will allow an instructor to correct airbrake settings on final approach without excessive arm motions.  These controls are far enough forward that the arm and elbow area is padded and comfortable.  There are separate levers for the spoilers and flaps so that they can be used independently.  Just forward of the console on the floor is the tow release lever.  The throttle, choke, and switches are positioned normally on the panel.  Rear windows provide a good view to the tail, and will help the Phoenix tow pilot when giving tows to his friends.

Starting the 100hp Rotax is straightforward.  Throttle at idle, half choke if the engine is cold, no choke if the engine is warm.  The Rotax cranks up immediately, as usual.  With the forward hinged canopy, there are no worries about starting and taxiing with it open.

After securing the canopy, we advanced the throttle to full, and executed a no flap takeoff on the beautiful grass runway.  We were off the ground in about 400 feet, even though the runway needed to be mowed, and climbed at 60kts, achieving 1200fpm with two of us and half fuel.  We climbed about 3000 feet, and then leveled off for cruise flight.  5000rpm resulted in a speed of 105kts.   Slowing to 60kts, a few dutch rolls confirmed a very nice roll rate.  We shut down the engine and feathered the prop and using 0 degrees of flap we climbed at 400fpm.  During the climb we intentionally slowed to the stall buffet and still had good aileron authority.

 We headed for the next cloud about 4 miles away.  Cruising at 60kts, the sink rate on the vario showed around 200fpm.  When we hit the thermal, we again did not use the flaps initially.  The climb rate was good, but when we dropped the flaps to 10 degrees the plane could be slowed down about 4kts with the same bank angle.  The climb rate increased as expected, and the roll authority remained good.  The two positive flap settings, 5 and 10 degrees, create more lift than drag, and are for improving soaring performance, not landing drag.  However, with a lower stall speed with flaps, the touchdown speed is less, which would be useful during rough field landings. 

With the engine running again, we performed a full stall series with flaps up and down, and spoilers up and down, wings level and during turns, which all resulted in stable mushing stalls with no tendencies to spin.

Back into the pattern with a bunch of other aircraft, including a tow plane busy hauling gliders aloft, we entered downwind, and flew the approach without flaps.  Full spoilers were applied just before ground effect, and then we kept the plane flying until it touched down on three wheels.  Full power, and we were off again in short order.  The second landing was with full flaps (10 degrees).  The approach angle was a little steeper, but not much.  The Phoenix lands very nice without flaps, you could even call it autoland.  Just pull back in the flare, and it lands three point.  No special timing is required.   But with flaps, the flare angle of attack is not a three point position, so it takes some special timing to pull it off.  A full spoiler approach with a slip is going to result in a higher sink rate than the flaps would produce anyway.  Once the wheels are on the ground, the steerable tailwheel prevents the wind from messing with you.  There is about 40 pounds of downforce on the tailwheel, so there won?t be any crosswind issues in any kind of wind anyone would want to be flying in.

To change wingtips, a door is opened on the underside of the wing, exposing the wingtip spar pin.  The pin handle nestles in a cage which requires the correct placement of the pin, or the door will not close.  You simply rotate the handle down and pull it out.  The extended wingtip slides straight out of the wing, and the short wingtip is inserted and the pin replaced.  It takes about a minute to remove both wingtips, and another minute to install the short tips.
It is striking how much the appearance of the Phoenix transforms with the change of the tips.  It is like looking at two different aircraft!  Nothing changes in the way the Phoenix is flown with the short tips.  All of the controls operate in exactly the same way.  But the 36' span Phoenix flies like an aerobatic pylon racer!  The top speed at 5500rpm increases to 118kts, and the cruise speed at 5000rpm is 111kts.
There are a lot of things to like about this new aircraft.  It looks awesome just sitting on the ground.  The climb performance in thermals is wonderful, and the glide is sufficient to provide for some long cross country flights (and you will always get back home).  It is comfortable and strong, and the ballistic parachute system provides great peace of mind, especially for passengers.  With the aerodynamics of the Phoenix motorglider, the cruise performance is better than any of the LSA airplanes on the market.  The long wings make it jump off the runway in less than 300 feet.  The service ceiling is yet to be determined, but it is definitely over 20,000?.  This plane is capable of not only crossing mountain ranges, but continents and oceans too!
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Phoenix motorglider light sport aircraft, Phoenix motor glider LSA or lightsport aircraft, Light Sport Aircraft Pilot News newsmagazine.
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