Newsletter 7 – August 2003

Welcome to another packed newsletter….. In this issue we feature the following……..

  • Flight for Sight….
  • Round the World flight on hold….. Insurance Problems
  • Virus Flight Report
  • USA Oshkosh Report
  • Sport Pilot Sign off
  • Join the Pipistrel support website

Flight for Sight

Early October has both Phil Allen piloting a Virus and myself in a Sinus assisting the important task of raising funds for the Royal Blind Federation as we fly Gerrard Gosens around the Queensland Outback . The press release follows…..

Gerard, Summit and Michael posing for the cameras

“Royal Blind Foundation has recently received support from the Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation for a two year program which will touch the lives of many Queenslanders in regional locations affected by vision loss.”

Royal Blind Foundation helps Queenslanders with vision impairment in a myriad of ways. The Royal Blind Foundation offers support, training and programs for children suffering vision loss from birth, right through to elderly people who may be experiencing eyesight difficulties through age-related conditions.

The Foundation has existed in various forms since 1883 and has developed over time, to become the major agency in Queensland delivering services and support to people experiencing sight loss.

Royal Blind Foundation General Manager, Gerrard Gosens, who is congenitally blind, is embarking on a unique flying adventure known as “Flight for Sight”. For the man that takes running marathons and climbing Mt. Everest in his stride, co-piloting a Sinus 912 around regional and rural Queensland is just another journey for Gerrard, to raise awareness and much needed funds for the Royal Blind Foundation.

With accomplished pilot Michael Coates of X-air Australia by his side Gerrard will be visiting 18 regional and rural Queensland cities and towns between October 7, 2003 and October 18, 2003. “Flight for Sight” will launch a “Rural Outreach and Community Development Program” to set up support for Queenslanders who are blind or vision impaired.

“The message we want to convey through “Flight for Sight” is that the Royal Blind Foundation is here to help rural areas and to make a valuable difference to people’s lives where there is a history of neglected support mechanisms for vision impairment issues,” said Mr Gosens.

Departing Brisbane International Airport on October 7, Gerrard and Michael will be visiting the following cities/towns; Coolangatta, Warwick, Toowoomba, Roma, Emerald, Longreach, Winton, Mt Isa, Cairns, Ingham, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Maroochydore before finally returning to Brisbane on October 18.

There are an estimated 60,000 Queenslanders with blindness and vision impairment. You may be surprised to know that, 1 in 50 Australians suffer from blindness or severe vision impairment. This figure is closer to 1 in 6 for Australians above the age of 70, due to eye conditions associated with ageing.

That makes vision impairment the most common disability in Australia.

The aim of “Flight for Sight” is to raise in excess of $50,000 to assist addressing the rising rate of blindness and vision impairment in Queensland.

Gerrard is looking forward to his co-piloting role and will take it in his stride as a celebrated achiever. His many achievements include representing Australia at the Paralympics in 1996 and 2000 in the 5000 metres, 10,000 metres and the marathon, running from Cairns to Brisbane 5 times to raise urgently needed funds for the community (for our overseas readers – that’s about 1000 miles each trip !!), being awarded the Young Queenslander of the year award in 1995 and more recently being awarded a Centenary of Federation Medal for service to sport.

When asked how Gerrard feels about flying as an unsighted person and why he is so keen to take on Mt Everest, he replies, “Having a disability is really an opportunity to maximise abilities. By overcoming obstacles you work on things like courage and bravery,” said Mr. Gosens.

“The Royal Blind Foundation welcomes the support of any pilots interested in flying their own light aircraft beside me for a donation to assist making ‘Flight for Sight‘ a success or any others who would simply like to make a donation to the Royal Blind Foundation’s ‘Flight for Sight’ event” added Mr. Gosens.

There are approximately 1000 children in Queensland alone that require specialised therapy services to assist with their blindness or vision impairment and the funds raised through “Flight for Sight” will go a long way towards assisting those children and their families who until now have received very little or no assistance.

To help make “Flight for Sight” a success and to help blind and vision impaired children and adults throughout Qld please call the Royal Blind Foundation and ask to speak with the “Flight for Sight” Event Coordinator on 07 3391 9191 or 1800 622 954 (regional callers) or International +61 7 3391 9191.


Summit will accompany Gerard on this outback adventure – from the comfort of a ground support vehicle.

Our Schedule for the “Flight for Sight” follows

Brisbane International Airport – Depart October 7, 2003

Coolangatta Airport – Arrive for lunchtime function October 7, 2003

Warwick Airport – Arrive for evening function October 7, 2003

Toowoomba Airport – Arrive for lunchtime function October 8, 2003

Roma Airport – Arrive for evening function October 8, 2003

Emerald Airport – Arrive for evening function October 9, 2003

Longreach Airport – Arrive for evening function October 10, 2003

Winton Airport – Arrive for lunchtime function October 11, 2003

Mt Isa Airport – Arrive for evening function October 11, 2003

Cairns Airport – Arrive for evening function on either October 12 or 13, 2003 (We believe it to be a good idea to have a rest day in Cairns to both maximise our fundraising potential and to allow the ground crew to recover from the long drive from Mt Isa to Cairns)

Ingham Airport – Arrive for lunchtime function on October 14, 2003

Townsville Airport – Arrive for evening function on October 14, 2003

Mackay Airport – Arrive for evening function on October 15, 2003

Rockhampton Airport – Arrive for lunchtime function on October 16, 2003

Gladstone Airport – Arrive for evening function on October 16, 2003

Bundaberg Airport – Arrive for lunchtime function on October 17, 2003

Hervey Bay Airport – Arrive for evening function on October 17, 2003

Maroochydore Airport – Arrive for lunchtime function on October 18, 2003

Brisbane International Airport – Arrive mid afternoon on October 18, 2003

We would welcome any pilots who wish to join us for any of the legs, a small donation would be appreciated also.

Round the world trip by Matevz Lenarcic POSTPONED

From Matevz’s Website.

01. Aug. 2003   

The start of our adventure is postponed to spring 2004

Exactly 100 years ago the airplane was discovered and developed and our world got smaller. Almost anybody can go wherever he wants to go and because the progress in aviation never stops the world is getting bigger once again.

Right in time of the worlds biggest fly-in the EAA convention in Oshkosh, a real celebration of human mobility the United States are frantically closing their airspace from swarms of possible terrorists in small aircrafts from all over the world. Nothing good ever came out of any radical decisions, the ones with good intentions are hurt by them.

Excellent Pipistrel aircraft Sinus 912 is in top condition and capable of carrying out the around the world flight, dedicated team led by Ivo Boscarol managed to solve all technical problems that arose during our testing period the plane is ready to go.

The demanding task of getting all the permits for flying in some of the world’s most exotic airspaces went well. With a lot of help on behalf of Slovenian Ministry of foreign affairs and Slovenian embassies worldwide we managed to get the diplomatic flight permits for Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China and part of Russia. Even the alternative route over Japan was covered by Japanese civil aviation organization.

We ran aground when we tried to close the requested third party liability insurance. Our insurance policy covered entire world with exception of United States of America and Canada. Numerous insurance companies all over Europe raised their hands when we tried to close the proper insurance due to specific American and Canadian insurance requests for aircrafts flying in their airspaces. Only two days before we started with our flight we managed to find company who was prepared to insure the aircraft by American and Canadian standards but for extremely high insurance fee of $18,000 that had to be paid at once (last year we had to pay $1,800 for insurance of our Zenair CH 701 that falls in the same category as our Sinus). Because we didn’t expect that we would be asked to pay such high price for the insurance we were unable to close the proper third party insurance what forced us to move the start of our adventure into the spring 2004.

We would like to say thank you to all the companies, organizations and numerous individuals that were involved in realization of this project and we hope that they will stay with us through all the troubles until we bring this project to its end and we will fly around the world with the micro light aircraft.

Organization team – Wings forever In Slovenia, 31st July 2003

Unfortunately that’s it for this year….. Insurance seems to be putting the dampener on most of aviation at the moment but hopefully the extra 6 months for fundraising by Matevz team will allow the adventure to start early next year.

Virus Flight Report

Our first Virus has just been delivered in Australia and I had the opportunity to run up almost 3,000 kms on the delivery trip. To say I am impressed with this aircraft is an understatement. With over 130 hours in the Sinus I was looking forward to flying the Virus again after my brief sortie in Slovenia with Pipistrel’s test pilot Tine.

The plane is an absolute joy to fly. It’s fast -Very fast – and leaps off the ground in what seems like 30 meters. It climbs at well over 1000 feet per minute and the roll rate left me feeling like an aerobatic pilot. The cruise I maintained on the trip was around 125 knots. Fuel burn was a little higher than my Sinus, at around 14 lph, but I put this down to the new engine and the fact it was very tight. The last few hours of flying saw the consumption improve to around 12.5 lph and I expect it to get better over the next 20 hours.

The biggest difference between the aircraft is the nosewheel – it makes visibility just so easy on the ground and even the shorter pilots can see over the nose. The Sinus on the other hand, being a tail dragger, restricts forward visibility whilst taxiing for the shorter pilots.

My only gripe with the Virus was that under power it wanted to turn right. It had me a bit stumped as all the aircraft have been flown at the factory and fully setup for flying straight out of the box…. Now I know Ivo and Tine wouldn’t have sent something that needed adjusting so I looked for the obvious and found it straight away. The tail skid on the back of the plane was offset about 1 cm which was acting like a huge trim tab… After a couple of goes at rotating it I found the perfect position and she now flies straight as an arrow.

A very happy Phil Allen takes delivery of his new Virus at Canberra International Airport on a cold winters day

Want to see the Virus in the flesh ?? This weekend (23rd and 24th August) we will be at Cooma’s Polo Flat airfield doing demo flights after which, the plane will be based in Canberra and a flight can be organised by calling Phil Allen on 0417 040 052.

Oshkosh 2003 & Sport Pilot Sign-Off

Well Oshkosh is over for another year and whilst I personally felt the crowd was down on the past few years it was still well attended and successful as an exhibitor with a number of new dealers appointed and aircraft sold throughout the show.We have almost finished setting up a network of USA dealers for sales and service of the Pipistrel range. The Sinus, in particular, has been very well received and the first orders are underway even before the implementation of Sport Pilot and the new Light Sport Aircraft Categories.

Did you know that a Sinus or Virus can legally be registered and flown in the USA under the Experimental for Exhibition category right now ??

From the Sport Pilot Website

July 31, 2003 – The proposed sport pilot and light-sport aircraft (SP/LSA) rule passed a major milestone when FAA Administrator Marion Blakey announced at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2003 that the FAA had completed its work on the final rule. The rulemaking package has now been forwarded to the Department of Transportation (DOT) for review.

After approval by the DOT, the SP/LSA rule will be forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Upon OMB approval, the rule will become official when it is published in the Federal Register. The effective date of the rule will be announced at that time.

According to the magazine Airventure Today the DOT quoted the paperwork “to be on my desk for about 1 week”…. Great news.

Once the final rule is published we will complete the ATSM paperwork and procedures and then the Sinus and Virus can be released to the mainstream market. If you would like to get in before the rush please drop me an email and we can get your order rolling.

Pricing Update

Some people don’t understand how the pricing works so I will explain and try and make it as simple as possible to understand.

When we sell you an aircraft we sell it in EURO which is the major trading currency used throughout Europe. In my example we will use the Sinus 503 aircraft. The 503 Sinus sells, ex factory, for Euro 46,000. On top of this, you need to pay freight from the factory to your country and also any local duties and taxes which may be imposed when you import the aircraft.

“Why do we sell the aircraft in Euro and not Australian dollars or US dollars ?” is a question we hear almost daily.  The simple answer is “to save you, our customer, money”.

The foreign exchange rate is currently very volatile with the Euro to US$ moving more than 10% in the past 3 months and the Euro to AU$ moving almost 25% in the past 6 months. To protect our business against making a loss we would have to take the rate fluctuations into consideration and possibly charge you up to 20% more just to make sure we didn’t lose money on the sale. The problem here is obviously the retail price to our customer may be much more than it really needs to be and we price ourselves out of the market. This is why we charge you in Euro. By paying in Euro you can look at the market between the deposit payment and the final payment and take advantage of any money market fluctuations, which can save you money by actually purchasing Euro ahead of time.

So, if you’re to purchase today, how much would our sample aircraft cost ??

Euro 46,000 = Approx $51,000 US$ or Approx $78,000 AU$

Add the freight, at around $2500 US$ or about $4,000 AU$, and you have the final cost excluding your local state taxes.

Pipistrel Support Site up and running

Following on from our success with the X-Air group we have just launched a support website for owners of the Sinus and Virus aircraft.

The group is basically run by aircraft owners and it’s an ideal forum to swap ideas, trade stories and generally discuss the pleasures of owning these fantastic aircraft.

I encourage all owners to join – the more who contribute, the more depth and resources our group will have.

The site address is

That’s it for our latest newsletter till next time….. Take Care Michael Coates