July 25, 2007

Enzo Red

Technologically speaking, how can the average Hyundai be so much further along than a new $250,000 airplane? It's amazing, FAA-certified piston airplanes DON'T have electronic ignition, fuel injection (even the mechanical type), and DON'T usually come with LED or HID lighting, all standard items on even the most modest of cars.

But the Experimental category rules for light aircraft mean designers are free from dinosaurian constriction, and quite often Experimental builders head straight for the car world to find the most effective solutions for their flying machines.

Case in Point:
Today at AirVenture we looked at the new Super Sport gyrocopter prototype from Sportcopter in Utah.
First off, the designers went out of their way to secure real Ferrari F60 Enzo red paint for the SS (they told me it "wasn't easy"). Beyond that, this thing looks nothing like a prototype! As with the exterior, the interior is fully detailed, with inertial-reel seatbelts, tan leather upholstery, and perfectly fit instrumentation pods. The adjustable pedals are works of CNC art! The instrument panel and interior are lighted exclusively with LED technology, and dual HID landing lights can be installed if the builder prefers. Automotive racing coilsprings (with "dual rates") adorn the landing legs which contain cartridge struts like a nice German sedan, and urethane bushings control the racy lower A-arms, specially designed to maintain geometry throughout the range of travel (sound familiar?). A badass Ducati-style disc brake is used to slow the aluminum rotor after landing and the stainless steel brake lines appear to have been borrowed from a nearby SCCA paddock.

The kicker? The 100mph Super Sport is related to our own Adil in that it runs on a 190bhp Subaru 2.5L water cooled boxer engine. This readily-available, torquey, and reliable powerplant is the perfect dynamo to power this application, and the acquisition cost amounts to a fraction of a new aviation engine.

All-in, the Super Sport kit should run about $85,000 with the Subaru engine.

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