New Spirit Powered Parachute From Six Chuter
SR-7xl "Totally Reengineered," Renamed
Six Chuter's new 2-seat Spirit powered parachute is the result of "totally reengineering" their SR-7xl model. Six Chuter hired FAA consultant Ben Morrow to ensure the Spirit was ready for Light-Sport Aircraft certification, should the FAA's recently released Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 2001-11133 - Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft be adopted as U.S. regulation.
Six Chuter - the Yakima, Washington manufacturer of the SR-1
through SR-7 line of single- and 2-seat powered parachutes - has
announced two new 2-seaters - the Spirit and the Prowler (see
next month's "Industry Watch" for info on the Prowler).
The introduction of the two new powered parachute models coincides
with Six Chuter's announcement of a new distribution deal with
top-performing Six Chuter dealer Doug Maas of Fort Vancouver Ultralights
in Vancouver, Washington (see article in this month's "Flightlines").
"The Spirit by Six Chuter is the result of totally reengineering
the most popular powered parachute in America," claims Six
Chuter president Dan Bailey, who boldly predicts "the Spirit
will be the best performing, best manufactured, safest, and most
economical powered parachute anywhere." Bailey reports his
company retained the services of Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) consultant Ben Morrow "to ensure from the beginning
that the Spirit will be ready for Light-Sport Aircraft*certification.
This aircraft is lighter, stronger and easier to produce, and
includes industry 'best practices' and 'best options' all in one
new powered parachute. The Spirit looks like a traditional SR-7
with the signature Six Chuter sweeping propeller guard, yet it
has the options of split seating and a windshield. The front seat
rotates forward to make refueling easier and safer than any other."
And the new Spirit features what Bailey claims is a safer radiator
mounting location, to the rear and below the engine (rather than
over the passenger's head). The Spirit retains Six Chuter's "proven
spring suspension system," which the company claims "is
superior to the spring rod systems most other manufacturers continue
to use." Another change to the SR-7 seen in the new Spirit
is strengthening the front steering fork. Bailey also claims that,
with the 50- to 75-pound decrease in total weight due to the redesign,
flying with both pilot and passenger aboard using a high-performance
canopy wing and the 50-hp Rotax 503 dual carb 2-cycle aircraft
engine "becomes a viable option again." And choosing
the less-expensive 503 powerplant makes the Spirit "an extremely
economical 2-place powered parachute," Bailey says. According
to Six Chuter distributor Doug Maas, the first step in reengineering
the SR-7 into the new Spirit was to consider a long list of improvements
that Six Chuter dealers and customers had already suggested. "Some
of the changes include the stronger front steering fork and the
new split seating option," Maas says. "Next, every bracket,
bolt and part was examined with several objectives in mind, including
standardizing the part, reducing the weight, and strengthening
the part." The overall result of this redesign effort
was the new powered parachute "operating with correct canopy
wing loading, safer flying, and improved and more economical performance,"
Maas claims. Other, less-noticeable changes include triangulating
some of the propguard arms, and strengthening the CG tubes. "The
final step," Maas explains, "was to carefully make improvements
to standard equipment while keeping the cost as low as possible.
A ceramic muffler that requires no welding is one example of this
Six Chuter offers their line of powered parachutes in "subassembled kits" that require the owner to complete the assembly "in about 40 hours," Maas indicates. "This reduces shipping costs and allows customers to choose this more-economical option." Six Chuter dealers across the U.S. provide customer support services, including construction help, flight training and "ongoing services," Maas points out. And with the new distribution deal between Six Chuter and Fort Vancouver Ultralights, "sales associates (dealers) now have the flexibility to establish the final pricing on the new Spirit and Prowler powered parachutes, based on the level of service and support a customer requires," he says. The recommended retail price on a fully-equipped Spirit with a 65-hp Rotax 582 liquid-cooled 2-cycle aircraft engine is $15,495, including a Grand Rapids Technologies EIS instrument package and a standard canopy such as the 500-square-foot APCO Mark II canopy wing that includes line socks and an oversized canopy bag. With the 50-hp Rotax 503 dual carb aircraft engine and a standard canopy, the suggested retail price is $14,025.
- Buzz Chalmers
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