Arrowquest Aviation Makes Canadian Trikes
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
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