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600 Kg Aircraft

I have from time to time looked at the various 600Kg 2 seaters coming out of Europe and wondered if they are in fact the future for the majority of private flying.

I know there are some on here who do long IFR trips, and these aircraft are not the answer for those trips, but I think if most people were brutally honest they would admit that a really well equipped carbon fibre or traditional aluminium aircraft, with Garmin avionics, a digital autopilot, and a Rotax engine, would do the job for them.

The 600Kg category does not need a full medical, and owner maintenance is much easier under LAA or BMAA rules in the UK.

I note that for example the retractable VL3 will take off and land in 170M and stall at Super Cub speeds, while it can cruise at Bonanza or Cirrus speeds.
I could also be tempted by something like a Sting S4, which is fixed gear and a bit slower, but also less money.

Maybe there are other types to consider too?

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

High performance 600 kg planes besides VL3: Risen, Blackwing, Shark.

LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

Neil wrote:

I know there are some on here who do long IFR trips, and these aircraft are not the answer for those trips, but I think if most people were brutally honest they would admit that a really well equipped carbon fibre or traditional aluminium aircraft, with Garmin avionics, a digital autopilot, and a Rotax engine, would do the job for them.

At four times the cost. My plane cost $35K, and the money not spent on a plane served me better when spent elsewhere.

Silvaire wrote:

At four times the cost. My plane cost $35K, and the money not spent on a plane served me better when spent elsewhere

It’s all about personal choice.

A new SR22 or Bonanza would be six times the cost of the UL!

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

Sure, absolutely, personal choice and that’s key. I don’t think there’s even a fraction of the people who have or will choose the aircraft you describe for them to end up being “the future for the majority of private flying” anywhere except maybe southern Europe. There are so many other types of planes in production and/or currently in service that will play their own role in the big wide world.

Do you think Alaska is going to fly them on floats?

For a while I was interested in e.g. Tecnam 2002s, with nice ones now available used for circa $60K. Even at that highly depreciated cost to buy, it didn’t make a lot of sense to me compared to what else can be bought for the same money. Of course there will be a few people who see that differently and spend 140K for a new one, and good luck to them.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 30 Jun 21:04

Silvaire wrote:

At four times the cost.

Exactly.

I see the same fundamental issue with these sorts of aeroplanes as I see with the electric cars we are told will dominate sales from tomorrow/next week or whenever.

It doesn’t take into account that a very significant proportion of the market, perhaps the majority (in aviation the vast majority) doesn’t have anything like the funds available to buy these things new. Or if they do, considers it a poor use of funds and prefers to play in the used market.

If I’m an average aviator with average funding, I’m never going to drop 100k+ on a ultralight aircraft. Just like as an average driver I’m never going to drop 40-50k on an electric vehicle.

EGLM & EGTN

These fast ultralights are definitely expensive to acquire, but they have superb fuel economy, being competitive against both cars and airlines. If I were to commute on a weekly basis between, say, Prague and London, this kind of aircraft would certainly come into consideration.

LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

The problem with the “vanilla” 600 kg airplane and a standard 100 HP Rotax 912 is it is under powered (not all of them, but most of them). At least compared with the sibling 450 kg UL, and also your typical 160/180 HP Cessna/Piper with two persons on board. Works OK for flying below 5k feet.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

If I were to commute on a weekly basis between, say, Prague and London, this kind of aircraft would certainly come into consideration.

You would have some issues with the weather and the permits.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

.aheum….I am flying a Bonanza btw HU and BE and still find it challenging coping with weather in IFR after 7 years. Since Covid a did this route far less. I have a descent A/P, TKS and 8 hours of fuel. I don’t see how I could do this in an LSA on a weekly basis. I did it seven times VFR in a motorglider, four times in a M20J (VFR) and that was enough :-). Dreaming about a ME aircraft for this now :-) preferably turbo charged and de-iced to avoid convective weather meanly TCU forming around the Alps and icing..If you take this as a holiday it’s different, you can make some youtube videos from all the nice places you visit enroute :-). I love flying light aircraft including motorgliders…but the right tools for the mission.

Last Edited by Vref at 01 Jul 08:52
EBST
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