Aerial Adventure Introduces Stratomaster Flight Information System

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"Simplified Version" Will Be Offered and Will Cost Less

Here's the view looking over the nosewheel of a trike fitted with a Stratomaster flight information system, offering all instrumentation in a single pod. The Stratomaster unit includes computer chip memory for your flight log, storing information (such as date and time of takeoff, duration of flight, and maximum speed and altitude reached) on up to 240 flights, as well as a wealth of other flight information and features.

Lucian Bartosik of Aerial Adventure is selling a new flight information system (FIS) loaded with features and functions. The instrument's claim to fame may well be its accuracy. Bartosik claims the new flight information system has "literally, scientific lab accuracy," having been developed in a "high-tech lab environment."

Produced by MGL Avionics in England, the Stratomaster flight information system offers a rather daunting list of features/functions, including (but not limited to):

* Altimeter - Zero-to-40,000-foot doubly temperature-compensated altimeter, displaying altitude in increments of 1 foot or 1 meter (3.28 feet). The altimeter can be user-calibrated, and has a 7.5-foot static resolution and 1-foot dynamic resolution, according to Aerial Adventure. "The dynamic resolution (with the aircraft moving) has been made possible by mathematically evaluating the turbulence created around the aircraft," Aerial Adventure says. "The unit uses a micromachined silicon diaphragm sensor and an absolute vacuum reference of the highest stability and accuracy." The altimeter has QNH (an international abbreviation for "mean sea level") and QFE (international abbreviation for "above ground level") settings. "The QNH setting can be shown in millibars or inches of mercury," Aerial Adventure notes.

* Airspeed indicator (ASI) or true airspeed (TAS) - Displays your airspeed from 16 to 200 mph. User calibration is possible to account for Pitot tube placement.

* Tachometer - With a range up to 9,999 rpm, it's "suitable for any engine," Aerial Adventure notes, "even with an odd number of pulses per revolution. Pickups are from Rotax ignition, magnetos, via capacitive coupling from spark-plug lead or from IR reflective sensors (direct from the prop, for example)."

* Water/engine temperature gauge - Displays water/engine temperature in degrees Celsius or degrees Fahrenheit. Uses a Rotax sender. Calibrated against a laboratory thermometer.

* Glide slope ratio indicator - Displays your glide slope from 1-to-1 to 99-to-1, "This display is shown when the instrument detects you are gliding," Aerial Adventure says. "Instantaneous calculation of your forward speed versus vertical speed is provided. Uses true airspeed (TAS) for maximum accuracy."

* Climb ratio indicator - Shows the ratio of climb to forward movement. This is useful in determining the best rate of climb versus the best angle of climb performance of your ultralight, according to Aerial Adventure.

* Takeoff distance measurement - "This establishes your ultralight's takeoff distance in meters to clearing the standard 50-foot obstacle," the company says. "This is a very useful feature for aircraft designers, and also for owners who want to optimize their ultralight's performance. This feature is also used to optimize climb performance if you have an adjustable propeller. In this case, the unit is used to measure the forward air distance required to gain 50 feet of altitude."

* Density altitude measurement - "This secondary altimeter shows the density altitude at your current location taking pressure altitude and ambient temperature into account," Aerial Adventure says. "This, in turn, can be used to calculate your ultralight's takeoff distance for current local conditions."

* Stopwatch - Can be used as a flight leg timer, or for competitions, according to Aerial Adventure. Functions provided are start/stop and reset. Range is 99 hours, 59 minutes.

* Air-distance-made-good trip counter - "This is a resettable 'trip counter' based on TAS and time," Aerial Adventure says. "The instrument can be set up to automatically reset the air distance counter at the start of a flight."

* Remaining fuel display - Uses a standard low-cost automotive float level sender (not included in the Stratomaster's price). "The instrument has a calibration procedure that recognizes the fuel tank shape and fuel capacity," Aerial Adventure notes. "This results in direct and accurate readout of remaining fuel in liters, or U.S. or Imperial gallons."

* Fuel flow display - This feature uses a fuel flow sender (not included in the basic price of the Stratomaster unit). This sender can also be used to calculate remaining fuel (if you haven't installed a fuel level sender). "In this case," Aerial Adventure says, "you can enter your current fuel tank level in liters, or U.S. or Imperial gallons, and the instrument will calculate your remaining fuel."

Had enough features/functions yet? Well, we're not done yet - there are more. The Stratomaster flight information system also offers:

* Air distance range - "The two probably most-useful displays (if fuel flow and remaining fuel features are available) are air distance range and bingo fuel time estimates, based on current performance," Aerial Adventure points out. "Air distance range gives calculated range based on current TAS speed, fuel flow and fuel remaining. Bingo time estimate gives remaining engine running time on available fuel based on fuel flow and fuel remaining."

* Ambient temperature - An accurate semiconductor sender for this feature is included in the Stratomaster's price, according to Aerial Adventure.

* Hourmeter - Hobbs meter records up to 9,999 hours and 59 minutes, and is presettable to current engine time.

* Engine maintenance counter - This presettable counter counts down engine time. "It can be used for maintenance tasks, such as regularly replacing spark plugs, etc.," Aerial Adventure says.

* Automatic flight detection - Automatically detects when you're airborne. However, it is also possible to set the instrument to record flights based on manual start/stop only, according to Aerial Adventure.

* Flight duration - Indicates duration of current flight from takeoff or manual start-of-flight input.

* Time of day - Displays current time of day in hours and minutes. This feature can be used to display Coordinated Universal Time for pilots flying across time zones.

* Flight log - "Every flight is stored in a log for later retrieval," Aerial Adventure explains. "The log contains up to 240 flights. Each flight stores date and time of takeoff, duration of flight, and maximum speed and altitude reached."

* Instructor/Lesson mode - The instrument can be set up to record in the internal logbook stored in its memory "lessons" rather than individual flights. In this mode of the flight log feature, a log entry stores a lesson, even if it's made up of multiple flights. Each lesson can be stored under a student number. "Lessons are subject to a number of criteria for accumulation of time," the company says. "Refer to the instruction manual for further details and options."

* Voltmeter - Displays current system voltage. "This is useful in checking for charging/overcharging of batteries, etc.," Aerial Adventure says.

* Barometer - "A barometer has been included to show local atmospheric pressure in millibars or inches of mercury," the company says. "This barometer is a precision instrument, with a range of 200 to 1,200 millibars."

Power-supply protection is provided via "a fast Tranzorb to prevent destruction by spikes caused by inductive loads," the company says. "Two independent 'watchdogs' are provided to detect any software malfunction (software crashes) and facilitate automatic recovery."

The unit can operate for about 18 hours on a 9-volt PP3 alkaline battery if the display backlight is disconnected, according to Aerial Adventure. (There is a setting on the rear of the unit for disconnecting the backlight.) "The unit can continue to operate down to about 7 volts," the company claims. "Normally, the unit will be connected to either 12-volt or 24/28-volt aircraft power supplies." It is possible to use a 9-volt battery as emergency backup power for the flight information system, according to Aerial Adventure. "This requires the installation of a simple two-diode decoupling bridge," the company explains. (Details on the required wiring are in the instruction manual.)

For the Stratomaster's dimensions, Aerial Adventure lists: 224 by 64 millimeters (8.8 by 2.5 inches), with a mounting depth (including connectors and wiring) of 65 mm (2.6 inches). Panel cutout is 204 by 54 mm (approximately 8 by 2.1 inches). Weight of the Stratomaster FIS is listed at 450 grams (15 3/4 ounces).

"The current U.S. dollar price of the Stratomaster flight information system for orders direct from the factory is $479 plus shipping and insurance," Aerial Adventure says. Any additional taxes or customs duties that may apply are not included in this price, the company notes. Bartosik indicates a simplified (and less costly) version of the Stratomaster flight information system will be available in the U.S. by the time you read this, at a price expected to be "less than $400."

"This instrument is capable of far more than we have the space to describe here," Bartosik concludes. Contact Aerial Adventure (below) for further information and details.

- Buzz Chalmers

Info sheet: free. CD-ROM manual: $3. Aerial Adventure, 2916-B Old Clarksville Pike, Dept. UF, Hopkinsville, KY 42240. Phone: (270) 881-1369 * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .


GibboGear Offers BabyButterfly BB Trike

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Butterfly Wings by GibboGear is putting their BabyButterfly trike wing - a smaller version of their "bread and butter" Butterfly trike wing - on the top-of-the-line BB Trike carriage, imported from Hungary. Other trike wings can also be used on the BB Trike. And no, the "BB" in BB Trike does not stand for "BabyButterfly" (or "bread and butter") - it's just what people started calling the trike when designer Janos Bogdola first developed it.

Butterfly Wings by GibboGear has added a top-of-the-line trike carriage - the BB Trike from Hungary - to their product line of Butterfly and Humvee trikes and three trike wings: the original Butterfly and new BabyButterfly* single-surface wings and the double-surface FireFly** wing.

The combination of a BB Trike and a GibboGear trike wing will cost you "about half the price of most top-end trikes on the market today," claims GibboGear president and Butterfly designer Mark "Gibbo" Gibson. He backs up his claim with the following trike-carriage-only retail prices.

The 2-seat BB 503 Trike with a 46-hp single-carb Rotax 503 2-cycle aircraft engine, Rotax B gearbox reduction drive, Tennessee Propellers 2-blade wood prop, and instruments (tach, CHT and EGT gauges) costs $8,795 (without wing). The 2-seat BB 447 Trike with a 40-hp single-carb Rotax 447 2-cycle aircraft engine, Rotax B gearbox reduction drive, Tennessee Propellers 2-blade wood prop, and instruments (tach, CHT and EGT gauges) costs $700 less at $8,095. And the single-seat Part 103 BB 340 Trike - a "soaring trike" - with a 30-hp Kawasaki 340 belt-driven 2-cycle engine spinning a Tennessee Propellers 2-blade wooden prop, 5-gallon fuel tank, and a tachometer retails for $6,995.

So what will the trike wing cost you? The 17.5-meter (195-square-foot) BabyButterfly wing costs $2,900; the 240-square-foot Butterfly wing sells for $3,700; and the faster double-surface FireFly trike wing retails for $3,900, Gibson notes for the three trike wings GibboGear sells. Gibson reports all three GibboGear wings (as well as others) can be used on the BB Trike carriage.

Standard features of the BB Trike carriage include: full frontal fairing (pilot pod) with instrument panel, wheel pants, wide seats with lap and shoulder pilot restraints, dual steering with foot and hand throttles, dual main wheel drum brakes, main wheel suspension, folding mast, 10-gallon fuel tank, and rubber vibration-isolating engine mounts.

The BB Trike gives ultralighters a trike with "low overall height and good ground clearance," the company says, as well as light weight. Without engine, the BB Trike carriage weighs 92 pounds; with a Rotax 503 engine, it weighs 188 pounds.

- Buzz Chalmers

*See "Industry Watch: BabyButterfly Trike Wing," November '01 Ultralight Flying! magazine

**See "Industry Watch: In the Works - New FireFly Trike Wing," September '01 UF! magazine

Info pack: free. Butterfly Wings by GibboGear, 260 S. Airport Rd., Hangar 1, Dept. UF, Lake Wales, FL 33853. Phone: (863) 679-6383 * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Arrowquest Aviation Makes Canadian Trikes

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If You Bust It, We'll Fix It for Free" Airframe Warranty

Arrowquest Aviation's 2-seat trike is called the Everest, and like all Arrowquest trikes, it features no landing gear suspension. "We do not use any type of suspension," Arrowquest owner Brad Waters says. "We tried lots of different types of suspension, and found if you land the trike the way you were taught, you don't need any." According to Arrowquest, having no suspension makes for a tougher frame with fewer moving parts to fail, and it also reduces the manufacturing cost, and thus the retail price to the consumer. Price for Arrowquest's 2-seat Everest trike (with 2-cycle engine and prop, but without wing) is $3,995 (U.S.).

Canadian ultralight manufacturer Arrowquest Aviation is unusual for a number of reasons, including their low prices and the airframe warranty on their trikes. The company offers an ultralight airframe warranty that states: "If you bust it, we'll fix it - for no charge."

Couple this with the fact that Arrowquest's trikes - the single-seat Elan and Elan SL (a soaring model), and the 2-seat Everest - do not offer any type of landing gear suspension (other than "air in the tires") on their all-welded steel frames, and you get a company very confident in their products. "We do not use any type of suspension," Arrowquest owner Brad Waters says. "We tried lots of different types of suspension, and found if you land the trike the way you were taught, you don't need any."

According to Arrowquest, having no suspension makes for a tougher frame with fewer moving parts to fail, and it also reduces the manufacturing cost, and thus the retail price to the consumer.

"Some people may argue the lack-of-suspension point, but there are a lot of other ultralights out there with no suspension either," Waters points out. But do they have a we'll-fix-it-at-no-charge warranty? "We are pretty confident on this part," Waters notes, "because there is just nothing to break on this thing. Because some customers are far away, if they do have a problem we send them the replacement parts instead of having them ship the whole trike back to us. We ask for a picture to be taken at the time of repair, so we can put it in our files." Arrowquest Aviation claims they have never had a structural failure with their all-welded frame. And because there are no bolt holes, there are no holes to round out or bolts to get loose.

Arrowquest Aviation mounts their 2-cycle engines inverted on their trikes. "This lowers the center of gravity so the risk of taxiing incidents is reduced, and produces less swing-through of the trike carriage on full-power takeoffs," Waters explains. But "we also build trikes with upright-mounted engines for pilots who do not want an inverted engine," Waters notes. A variety of 2-cycle engines are available from Arrowquest, including Rotax 2-stroke aircraft engines.

Arrowquest can custom-build longer or shorter frames for bigger- or smaller-than-average pilots, according to the company. All their trike frames are powder-coat painted "in colors upon customer request, at no additional charge," Waters notes.

How did Waters, a certified welder by trade and mechanical engineer by education, end up in the trike manufacturing business? "It all started about 5 years ago," he relates. "I had always wanted to fly, but work and family obligations prevented it. I just kept putting it off."

Until a buddy of his got him flying. "I did a lot of research," Waters says, "and found that all aircraft were expensive for what I thought was there. What I mean is, a typical ultralight doesn't have a lot of expensive parts - an engine, some fabric [covering] and aluminum tubes [and hardware]. Why should they cost so much money?

"I looked at the incident rates of ultralights, and [my research here in Canada showed] that trikes had the lowest," Waters says. "They were easy to learn to fly, and had the least number of moving parts that could fail. So I chose trikes.

"I bought an Airborne wing, and the trike dealer I learned to fly from found me a used trike carriage - which still would have cost me $12,000 (Canadian). I looked at it and thought to myself, I can build this thing myself [for less].

"I made a trike carriage from pictures off the Internet, from some measurements taken from other trikes, and from just plain common sense," Waters admits. "Our first trike was all welded aluminum.

"I flew that trike every chance I had. I had just about 100 hours on it when another friend caught the flying bug. I built a trike for him, but this time out of mild steel, which is easy to weld and repair and just as strong, and only added 7 pounds to the weight. This reduced the cost by about $200 (Canadian). We flew those things all that first year, even during the winter.

"In the spring, we decided to build [trike carriages] for others at a retail level. We went with the all-welded steel trike design for the ease of getting materials and ease of construction. We never copied any one trike exactly - no one trike had what we wanted." Waters indicates they build Arrowquest trikes from November until April, spending the summer doing promotion, taking orders and going to fly-ins (and flying his trikes - he claims 200 to 250 hours personal flight time per year). But, like some others in the aviation industry, he hasn't "given up his year-round 'day job'" as co-owner/operator (with his wife) of a quick lube/muffler shop.

Arrowquest Aviation's trikes feature "high headroom," according to the company. "We have a curved main pylon [to which the trike wing is attached] that does not bang your head," Waters notes. Their trikes also feature "individual bucket-type seats with good back support," he adds.

Safety backup cables are found in the main pylon and around the wing's keel tube. "Safety is our biggest concern," Waters says. "We offer a 50-hour hangbolt change-out time. The customer just telephones us, and we send him a new one at no charge (for the first 100 hours). And we have a 1-year 100-hour frame warranty which states 'If you bust it, we'll fix it, no charge.'"

Arrowquest Aviation manufactures three trikes of their own (the single-seat Elan and Elan SL models, and the 2-seat Everest trike) and also markets a top-of-the-line trike, the Griffon, made by Aeros in the Ukraine.

Arrowquest's single-seat Part 103 trike is the Elan, featuring a 5-gallon fuel tank/bucket seat combo and (shown here) an inverted 2-cycle engine, for lower-center-of-gravity stability. Arrowquest notes that upright engine position is available for pilots who prefer an upright engine. The Elan SL (a soaring single-seater model) is also available.

Price for the 2-seat Aeros Griffon is $7,995. Arrowquest Aviation's 2-seat Everest is $3,995; their single-seat Elan trike is $3,295; and single-seat Elan SL is $2,995. All prices are base prices (options are extra) in U.S. dollars, and include the trike unit (carriage), engine and 2-blade GSC wooden prop - the trike wing is extra.

- Buzz Chalmers

Info: free. Video: $9.95 (U.S.). Arrowquest Aviation, 4214 49th St., Dept. UF, Vegreville, Alberta, Canada T9C 1B4. Phone: (780) 632-4416 * Fax: (780) 632-6150* e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Powrachute Extravaganza Fly-In

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Powered parachute manufacturer Powrachute hosted their third annual Extravaganza at the company's Columbus, Kansas headquarters September 27-30. More than 5,000 people attended, including 215 pilots from 29 states and Canada. The two pilots traveling the furthest distance were husband-and-wife team Wayne and Susan Mitchler from Alberta, Canada.

Perfect weather conditions blessed the 4-day event, allowing lots of flying throughout the long weekend. Fun flying contests added spice to the flying, with first- and second-place winners honored.

Rick Siegfried and Clyde Poser placed first and second respectively in the Five O'Clock Charlie contest, John Wilson and Reggie Toler won the top two prizes in the Closest to the Pin contest, and Jim Reed and Dave Krause were first and second in the Leap Frog contest. Top Gun honors went to John Wilson.

On Saturday morning 80 powered parachutes launched in 20 minutes, 11 seconds, filling the sky with color.

An outstanding feature this year was a 14,600-square-foot bald eagle with the American flag as its canvas and below it the Powrachute Company logo, airbrushed in the flying field. Brothers Bill and Galen Mast of the Land of Ahs - new dealers for Powrachute - worked for 2 days bringing this masterpiece together.

Another highlight of the Extravaganza was Powrachute founder Bill Amyx's flying pyro show. Flying Bill flies through the sky launching fireworks from his powered parachute while ground crews launch fireworks up in the air where Bill is flying.

Probably the biggest highlight of the Extravaganza was the drawing for a Powrachute Sky Rascal, the company's new single-seater. The drawing was open to all pilots who registered an airworthy powered parachute at the fly-in. And the lucky winner was Mike Peterson of Carthage, Missouri.

Powrachute plans to hold the Extravaganza again next year. For 2002 dates, phone: (620) 429-1397 * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Tom Peghiny to Receive Moody Award

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 Tom Peghiny has been selected to receive the 2001 John Moody Award. USUA Regional Representatives, past Moody Award recipients and the USUA Board of Directors ratified the selection of Peghiny. The award will be presented at the 2002 Ultralight Awards Ceremonies during the USUA Annual Convention on Saturday, February 9, 2002.

The John Moody Award, named in honor of "The Father of Ultralights" John Moody, was established in 1991. In 1976, Moody was first to provide the public a complete ultralight kit including both engine and airframe. It is ultralight aviation's highest and most prestigious award honoring the history and development of ultralighting.

The John Moody Award is presented annually to an individual, a group of individuals or an organization for efforts over a period of years that reflect credit upon America and themselves by having made significant contributions or advancements of enduring value to ultralight aviation in the United States. Past recipients of the Moody award include Dennis Pagen, Chuck Slusarczyk, Dr. Henry O. Malone Jr., John Ballantyne, Boris Popov, Vincent Vitollo, Ultralight Flying! magazine, Dan Johnson and Homer Kolb.

Peghiny has distinguished himself as a true pioneer of ultralight aviation. As a champion competitor, Advanced Flight Instructor (AFI), innovative designer and engineer, test pilot, and manufacturer for a period of almost three decades, he has made significant contributions of enduring value which have helped shape the sport and industry of ultralight aviation in the United States.

At age 13, Peghiny began his life's journey in air sport aviation by devoting himself to the designing and building of light aircraft. From the beginning he established himself as a leader and in 1969 while still a junior in high school, started an aviation club, which among other projects lead to the building of a very early bamboo "Batwing" Rogallo hang glider. But just designing and building was not enough. As a result of a dream and passion for flying, Peghiny became heavily involved in competition flying. He was the youngest competitor in the First National Hang Gliding Championships in 1973 and throughout his competition career has captured 35 first-place awards, including the prestigious Masters of Hang Gliding at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.

Peghiny's substantial reputation in the sport led to his appointment as Vice President of Research and Development for Sky Sports, upon graduation from high school in 1974. With his active participation, Sky Sports became one of the largest hang glider manufacturers in the United States. While a partner at Sky Sports he is credited for designing the first double-surface flex-wing hang glider, the Kestrel. During his tenure at Sky Sports, the company began to conduct early experiments in developing powered hang gliders. These efforts contributed to design evolutions, which became the genesis of the ultralights of today. His first powered hang glider flight was in the fall of 1975.

In 1981, Tom joined Pioneer International Aircraft, initially as test pilot. Because of his engineering, design talent and experience, he was promoted to engineering manager. Under Peghiny's leadership a design team was formed which led to the development of the Pioneer Flightstar and Dualstar ultralights. These were a new breed of ultralights and one of the first "advanced" ultralights available to the industry. Quality engineering, unique design, superior materials, and parts manufacturing were their trademarks. Pioneer produced more than 700 of the early model Flightstar ultralights, ending production in 1984 when the company was sold to an Argentina firm. Tom remained in a design consultant role with the new company, and through his work, a 2-seat version called the Aviastar was developed. Aviastar was the name of the Pioneer planes produced in Argentina.

In 1991, Tom and a partner Mark "Spark" Lamontagne formed Flightstar, Inc. to manufacture updated versions of the Flightstar single-seater, and in the process, designed and developed a basically new 2-seater which they named the Flightstar II. In 1995, Flightstar formed a partnership with Lockwood Aircraft in Sebring, Florida to produce the Flightstar line of products. Since then, more than 600 aircraft kits have been produced and sold by Flightstar dealers worldwide.

In 1997, Tom and Spark established a relationship with the Japanese company HKS, a major after-market automotive parts manufacturer. HKS now produces 4-stroke engines for the ultralight industry and Tom has formed HPower, Ltd. to distribute the HKS engines in North and South America.

For almost three decades, Tom Peghiny has played major roles in the air sport and ultralight aviation industry as an innovator, designer, and manufacturer. Because of his experience and reputation in the industry, Tom was asked to appear before the Congressional subcommittee hearings on the original FAR Part 103 ultralight regulation. He was also appointed as a manufacturer representative to the Part 103 Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC).

In 1997, Tom and his company Flightstar, was awarded the U.S. Ultralight Association Meritorious Service Award and in 1998, Tom was awarded the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association President's Award for Outstanding Individual.

Tom Peghiny holds a Pilot, Basic Flight Instructor, and Advanced Flight Instructor rating with USUA.

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