Newsletter 57 – May 2011

Welcome to the Pipistrel Aircraft update for May 2011

Every now and again we get reports from our customers and I would like to share this customers report with you.

Report from Canada. Pilot. Daniel Scopel C-FYXY Sinus 912.

After 2 seasons and 2 months into the 3rd season with 800 hours of air time on my nose wheel Sinus I like to tell the world that I am TOTALLY SATISFIED with this motorglider.

May God bless whoever decided to design and put the Sinus in production.

The fact that more the 300 were sold during these years of aviation slump is also encouraging.

Daniel’s aircraft pictured with daughter Annie after her first flight.

I was expecting fun for the money I paid but I got so much more than what I was expecting, along with many positive surprises that I was not even thinking about when I purchased 2 years ago!

This 2011 spring in less than 2 months and I already have more the 100 hours air time and just flew 8 days in a row in a period that Quebec is flooded,  now with 5 days of rain coming up it gives me a little time to brag about my amazing plane (well…. maybe I will put the Sinus on floats)

The Sinus thermals well, clouds streets are fun to fly, waves are just a joy to ride, and this year I finally found good slope winds to fly some small local ridges……… normally I stay away from ridges because of the crowds of paragliders and hangliders, but early in the season the hang gliders were not there so I gave it a try, I was surprised to be able to go back and forth as long as I wanted with only light winds.

The reliable Rotax consumes no oil at all, starts and restarts in flight immediately if you select the proper choke settings and I have 100% confidence in the engine. I fly in Quebec where soaring conditions are not the best, on many days there is no way to soar because of poor lift condition but that doesn’t matter, I can climb quickly to 7000 feet, switch off the engine and glide looking for the elusive lift and thermals.

Touring at 122 knots IAS in calm air at 1000 feet AGL is also fun at the end of the day when I am racing home before last light.

During the first season I was disappointed by the brake wear of the standard Pipistrel brake pads, I no longer complain about it, now I just use the brakes twice per flight, once to keep the Sinus from moving doing the mags check at 4000 rpm, once to check the brakes are working. If you see me landing and stopping in 1000 feet it is only because I am not using the brakes, I would probably need only 500 feet if I used the brakes but it’s not a necessity on 5000 foot runways. I no longer need to impress anybody with short landings.

I am also very surprised by the cost of flying, when I compare the Sinus with all the other local two seaters flying more than 400 hours a year the Sinus is much, much less expensive…  at least half their cost.

This year I averaged 7.75 liters an hour (approx. 2gph) premium mogas without ethanol, I am light on the throttle and it shows, most of the time I fly around at 4200 rpm full fine pitch. The Rotax would be ok with regular less expensive mogas, but in Canada they decided to add garbage ethanol, so now I have to pay more.

I do not care about getting to the next airport 5 minutes earlier and when I get there I might do some circuits, simulated engine failures, low passes, other fun stuff and I am never pressed to land like the other local pilots doing boomerang flights from the closest airport where avgas is less expensive.

I also let anybody inbound for landing or taxing to the runway go first, I do not care if I burn few more drops of fuel, I just love being in the air.

I am now totally happy also because the Sinus is now hangered and protected from the elements, I can move it alone with two fingers in and out of the hangar, I no longer need to go around an almost deserted airport to beg for help when I fly alone.

The only bad thing is that my hangar is an hour’s drive from home otherwise I would be flying two more hours a day consuming less fuel flying the Sinus than driving my SUV to the airport using more than 10 liters an hour for just half the speed.

Being now more familiar with the aircraft I also like to roll and land on one wheel, this is fun, safe practice to land into cross winds and minimize tire wear on one side!!!

I had an accident at the end of my first season where I destroyed the prop and damaged the nose wheel. The Sinus absorbed the impact and we felt nothing in the cockpit. After that accident I was afraid of the repairs, I was expecting problems, vibrations, malfunctions, etc. but surprisingly the repaired Sinus is flying better than before and I must thank the Canadian Pipistrel Dealer for the outstanding work and excellent service.

I have basic poor man instruments, the standard Brauniger MFD, a cheap car GPS and I don’t feel the need for thousands of dollars in instruments because I fly by feel rather than by computer and I don’t think more instruments would add any more pleasure to my flying other than impress my girlfriends.

With the Sinus you get excellent instant visual references when lift is changing……. maybe faster than such varios, good enough for me.

This winter I met an old buddy who I was flying with many years ago……….. He has flown more hours with me in the Sinus over the past 50 days than he was flying in a average year in his Cessna 172 and I do not think because he likes my smell!!!

I also think that with this aircraft you can learn much more then with other conventional two seater aircraft, you think more about energy/inertia management, landings and take offs with flaperons positive or negative, fully open or no spoilers……. any combinations/mistakes you can think of. You can even take off with spoilers fully open.

The Sinus will take off normally with about 60% of the Rotax power at 4000 rpm, climbing better than a legacy C150 and barely making any noise.

Well, this is for me the ecological side of the modern aviation:
lots of fun, learning and performance,
little gas and oil consumption and pollution,
little noise.

Now I am looking for durability………. I expect 3000 hours from the Rotax 80 HP,
Aircraft paint is surprisingly immaculate, Nothing to complain about…………

I must add I did visit the Pipistrel factory, I was impressed!!! The cleanest best organized modern plant I ever seen, (and I have seen quite a few). I believe they are there to stay for a long time and play an important role in modern aviation. This adds a good deal of comfort and peace of mind for spare parts, etc.

For more photos go to Daniels facebook page.

Happy Landings,
and fly safely.
Daniel Scopel
C-FYXY 292
Motorglider Enthusiast.

Safe flying, Michael Coates