RAD Electronics

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Tim Bruno of RAD Electronics has designed a "black box" intercom system that is said to reduce background noise and combine a lot of options for ultralight pilots.

Flying open-air ultralights often presents a problem in communication because of the high noise environment. Over the years many headsets and intercom designs have helped pilots overcome much of the noise. A new company called RAD Electronics has come up with an affordable "black box" intercom system that is claimed to reduce background noise and combine a lot of options for the pilot.

"I ended up going with a type of noise reduction which has never been done in an ultralight intercom," claims RAD owner Tim Bruno. "My wife Shari and I wanted to get something on the market that was [affordable], really versatile and does everything in one box."

Called the TAC 100, the intercom features a unique electronic noise-limiting design, allowing for comfortable intercom volume while it reduces unwanted ambient noise. Powered by a 9-volt alkaline battery or 12-volt DC power, the intercom comes with a music jack for CD, tape or radio; two transceiver ports for air-to-air or air-to-ground communication; dual volume and threshold controls; user-adjustable output gain controls for push-to-talk arrangements; and durable anodized finish.

Measuring 1.5 by 4 by 4 inches, the intercom can be panel mounted or placed in a portable "RAD Pak."

"Electronic noise and ambient noise are two different things," Bruno explains. "Electronic noise is caused by the engine, lighting coils, tachometer, magneto switches and strobe lights. That's all usually taken care of by putting a circuit board in the intercom box. The protection is the circuit board and the aluminum box.

"Ambient noise is just what comes into your microphones and ends up going through your speakers. Therefore we have adjustable noise-attenuation so you can actually limit your background noise. And it's not a squelch like in general aviation. It's never been done in this market before. It's a compressor-limited circuit that actually compresses the waveform when there's low voltage coming through the microphone such as ambient noise. But when you speak into the microphone, it agitates the microphone diaphragm, creating more voltage break but you don't hear it working as fast. Again, it's not a squelch. You won't cut off first and last words, you don't have to yell to break it. You can talk pretty naturally even at full-power takeoff. You don't have to throttle back, because the intercom works well enough even to fly as a single-place and plug into the intercom just as you listen to music or whatever you want to do while you're flying.

"We've also gone to a 4-layer circuit board in our intercom box, which is heavily shielded. The box is usually what does a lot of the noise suppression."

What if a pilot already has a helmet and headset system and he just wants the intercom box? Is that retrofittable?

"If it's a single-plug system, yes," says Bruno. "So you don't have to replace your whole system, just your intercom if you want better noise attenuation. They're all surface mount, all the jacks are surface mount, eliminating the wires in the box."

RAD Electronics also manufactures communication helmets and headsets. "We have 8 different color earcups, four different color helmet combinations, and interface cables for all the popular radios," says Bruno.

Info: RAD Electronics, Inc., W9509 County Road JJ, Dept. UF, Wautoma, WI 54982.
Phone: (920) 787-3572.
 

Skydat GX1

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Digital Multi-Instrument

If your ultralight has an electric starter and battery and is powered by a Rotax engine, you have all you need to run the Skydat GX1 - a digital avionics system. 

If you're looking for one all-around instrumentation system, check out the Skydat GX1. It monitors all Rotax engine functions, and includes airspeed, altitude and climb rate readings - all in one package.

Designed and manufactured by Amptronic in South Africa, the Skydat GX1 is available in the U.S. through Rainbow Aircraft.

The unit features functions that can be displayed in three different sets of units: Imperial (UK), Imperial (US) and metric. Most of the functions are displayed in analog format with dials or bar graphs being utilized. Also, there is a visual alarm that warns the pilot if an important engine parameter has been exceeded.

According to the company, one of the great features of the Skydat is the installation. "All senders are connected to the Engine Management Module, which is located in the proximity of the engine," according to Skydat's literature. "This module processes the signals and transmits them via 4 wires to the GX1 instrument face."

The Skydat GX1 shows flight and engine functions. Flight information includes airspeed in kilometers or miles per hour; altitude in meters or feet; vertical speed indicator in m/s or feet per minute; flight duration in hours, minutes and seconds; air temperature in degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit; and glide ratio. Engine information includes engine rpm; engine hours in hours and minutes; depending on the type of engine or configuration selected, CHT, EGT or CHT/CHT, EGT/EGT; water and oil temperature in Celsius or Fahrenheit; oil pressure, bars or PSI; and battery voltage.

Designed for Rotax engines, the Skydat GX1 "needs clean 12-volt power," says the company. "If the aircraft is fitted with a battery and electric starter, then you will have all you need to run this system. If your aircraft does not have a battery, then you will need to fit a regulator/rectifier to the engine and connect a capacitor to the regulator output."

Info: Rainbow Aircraft, 162 Quincy #G, Dept. UF, Long Beach, CA 90803.
Phone: (310) 251-7560 * Fax: (562) 433-0738 * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 

Fort Vancouver Ultralights Exclusive Six Chuter Distributor

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Six Chuter Dealers to Set Prices, Offer Customer Financing

Fort Vancouver Ultralights president Doug Maas, the new exclusive distributor of Six Chuters line of powered parachutes, displays the new 2-seat Spirit powered parachute at the U.S. Ultralight Association  annual Convention and Air Sports Expo in Ontario, California this past February. "The Spirit by Six Chuter is the result of totally reengineering the most popular powered parachute in America, the SR-7xl," Fort Vancouver Ultralights claims.

Six Chuter, the Yakima, Washington manufacturer of single- and 2-seat powered parachutes, has announced "significant changes in the Six Chuter method of distributing powered parachutes," says newly appointed Six Chuter distributor Doug Maas of Fort Vancouver Ultralights. Six Chuter president Dan Bailey calls the new marketing method "a radical approach to marketing and distribution."

In conjunction with the new distribution deal, Six Chuter is introducing two new 2-seat powered parachute models c the Prowler and the Spirit (see article in this months "Industry Watch" on page 10). "We are simultaneously launching production of the best powered parachute in the nation," Bailey claims, "responding to anticipated implications of FAAs Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft NPRM * (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking), and opening the market with a radical approach to marketing and distribution."
The new distribution deal has the father-son team of Doug and Brian Maas of Fort Vancouver Ultralights exclusively handling the marketing and distribution of Six Chuters complete line of single- and 2-seat powered parachutes, while Six Chuter does the manufacturing, including the "subassembly" of the new Spirit powered parachutes, according to Fort Vancouver Ultralights. Spirit owners will do the final Spirit kit assembly, estimated to take about 40 hours. "Six Chuter will handle all manufacturing," Brian Maas says, "and Fort Vancouver Ultralights will handle the sales and distribution."

"Washington state corporation Fort Vancouver Ultralights approached Six Chuter with a proposal to build the Spirit and allow the partner corporation to handle exclusive marketing and distribution" of Six Chuters powered parachutes, Bailey explains. "Doug Maas, president of Fort Vancouver Ultralights and the former chief of police in Vancouver, Washington, recently retired as president of the local Chamber of Commerce. Maas is one of our top-performing dealers. His family corporation made this proposal, and we have accepted."

As Six Chuters new distributor, Maas announced that Six Chuter "sales associates" (dealers) will offer financing on Spirit sales to their customers. "The financing package extends 72-month financing on the Spirit," Maas says. "With as little as 10% down and interest rates as low as 8.5% to qualified purchasers, a customer can buy the Spirit for payments of around $215 a month."
Six Chuter is introducing the new Spirit "at a sustainable price that no one can match over the long run," Bailey boldly predicts. "The 2-seat Spirit will be offered starting at $12,025."  With the popular 65-hp liquid-cooled Rotax 582 2-cycle aircraft engine and an APCO Mark II canopy or new Osprey canopy from South African company Hawkwing, it will sell for as little as $13,495. This is for a complete subassembled kit with a Grand Rapids Technologies Engine Information System (EIS) instrument package and a Powerfin 3-blade composite propeller. And it will be offered with "every option imaginable," Bailey says, "including split seating, windshield kit and the Rotax E gearbox reduction drive with electric start."

The total price the customer pays will, of course, depend on which powered parachute model is purchased and the options chosen, but it will also depend on which dealer you buy from, as Six Chuter dealers will determine their own pricing. "Final retail pricing will be established by Six Chuter dealers, based on the level of service the customer requires," Fort Vancouver Ultralights notes. Commenting on Six Chuters new distribution deal with Fort Vancouver Ultralights, Maas says, "We challenged Six Chuter to design a new powered parachute that incorporates the best of industry practices, while maintaining the strength of the former line of powered parachutes. They did that and more." And in what sounds like a direct challenge to the rest of the powered parachute industry, Maas states, "Not only did Six Chuter make every change we asked for, they even managed to reduce the overall weight, as well as reduce the production cost to a level I dont believe can be matched by anyone else in this industry." With the 50- to 75-pound reduction in overall weight, the 2-seat Spirit flying with a high-performance canopy wing and both pilot and passenger aboard can successfully utilize the popular 50-hp Rotax 503 dual carb 2-cycle aircraft engine, making it "an extremely economical 2-place powered parachute," Bailey says. Fort Vancouver Ultralights is located at the Brush Prairie Aerodrome (5WA9), a privately owned ultralight-friendly grass airstrip.
*See "Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft NPRM Info," April 02 Ultralight Flying! magazine

- Buzz Chalmers
Info pack: free. Video: $5 (plus shipping). Fort Vancouver Ultralights, 1232 NE Cedar Ridge Loop, Dept. UF, Vancouver, WA 98664. Phone: (360) 896-8916 * Toll-free: (888) 944-8916 * Fax: (360) 896-7234 * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 

Flightstar Releases Service Bulletin and Airworthiness Directive

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Flightstar Sportplanes, manufacturer of the Flightstar line of single- and 2-seat ultralights, has issued a service bulletin and an airworthiness directive. The service bulletin affects all Flightstar models equipped with a Rotax 2-stroke engine, and the airworthiness directive affects aircraft manufactured after 1995 that are equipped with the molded cross-link polyethylene 10-gallon fuel tank.

Service Bulletin: Inspection and Replacement of Impulse Line

We are recommending all owners of Flightstar aircraft equipped with Rotax 447, 503 and 582 engines to inspect the impulse line and replace it with new impulse line if found to be opaque and/or rigid," says Flightstar. "The daily preflight inspection of the Rotax found in the manual recommends checking the impulse line daily. The maintenance schedule we supply in our kits recommends closely inspecting the impulse line every 50 hours, with replacement at 150 hours or annually."
Description:  The thick wall (1/4-inch inside diameter to 1/2-inch outside diameter) Tygothane tubing supplied by Flightstar in all kits since 1996. The impulse line is the tubing that runs from the impulse nipple on the lower case of the engine to the fuel pump.

Required Action:  Inspect your aircraft. The fuel pump is operated by the vacuum "impulse" from the crankcase, and if the impulse line is cracked or leaks, the engine could stop, says Flightstar. Inspect the impulse line for flexibility and discoloration. If it is either dark brown or opaque and not flexible, replace it immediately with 1/4- by 1/2-inch Tygon-Tygothane tubing only. Do not use standard fuel line.  

The replacement impulse line can be purchased from Flightstar or Flightstar-approved supplier Lockwood Aviation Supply. Phone: (800) LA-ROTAX.

Airworthiness Directive: Replacement of Fuel Drain Rubber
Grommet with Threaded Plug

We are requiring all owners of Flightstar aircraft manufactured after 1995 that are equipped with the molded cross-link polyethylene 10-gallon fuel tank to replace the rubber grommet and barbed fitting with the threaded drain plug fitting at the sump drain location," says Flightstar.

Required Action:  "We recommend that within 30 days of reading this notice you equip your aircraft with the threaded drain fitting," says Flightstar.

We will supply the fitting for a nominal fee to cover the cost of the parts only. These are available to all owners."


Info: Flightstar, Inc., PO Box 760-UF, Ellington, CT 06029. Phone: (860) 875-8185 * Fax: (860) 875-8185 * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 

New U.S. Distributor for Mainair Trikes

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Florida-Georgia Flight Center Near Gainesville Dickert

British triker Colin Bodill pilots his Blade 912S trike on his solo flight round the world. Mainair Sports Blade 912S trike uses the 100-hp Rotax 912S 4-stroke aircraft engine with electric start, a 2.43-to-1 gearbox reduction drive and a 65-liter (16.9-gallon) fuel tank. The Blade 912 model offers the 81-hp Rotax 912 4-stroke aircraft engine (certified to European JAR 22 standards), with a 2.273-to-1 gearbox reduction drive. - Photo by Paul Tomlin

Mainair Sports, manufacturer of the Mainair Blade 912S trike that Colin Bodill flew around the world,* has announced that Bill Dickert of the Florida-Georgia Flight Center near Gainesville, Florida is the new U.S. representative for the British line of Blade and Rapier trike microlights (the international term for ultralight ). "We have a new representative in the USA with Bill Dickert of the Florida-Georgia Flight Center, reports Mainair Sports director Roger Patrick. "Bill can train new trike pilots either at his home base near Gainesville, Florida, or travel [across the U.S. to train them".

Dickert offers trike training at the Cross City Airport (CTY) in Cross City, Florida. He says he "loves to travel, and is developing a "2-place trike trailer to transport two trikes c one for his customer and another for him to fly and train in when he reaches his destination. Dickert indicates he may market the trailer to the ultralight industry by this summer. Dickerts distributorship will offer Mainair Sports full line of Blade and Rapier trikes. The Lancashire, England manufacturer offers both ready-to-fly trikes and kits (which include a factory-built trike wing). Dickert loves to fly trikes, and says he has logged "more than 600 hours flight time during the last 6 years.

The Florida-Georgia Flight Center is also a dealership for AirBorne Windsports, Dickert indicates. AirBorne is an Australian trike manufacturer, as well as a producer of nonpowered (foot-launched free-flight) hang gliders.

*See "Flightlines: Another Round the World Challenge in a Microlight May 00 UF! ; "Flightlines: Round the World Flight Update, August 00 UF!; "Flightlines: Where Are They? Microlight and Helicopter Round the World Flight, September 00 UF! .
- Buzz Chalmers

Info pack: $3. Florida-Georgia Flight Center, PO Box 259, Dept. UF, Old Town, FL 32680. Phone: (352) 542-2985 * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Mainair Sports, Unit B, Dept. UF, Crawford St., Rochdale, Lancashire OL16 5NU Great Britain. Phone: (44) 0 1706 655134 * Fax: (44) 0 1706 631561 * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
 
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