New "Buzz" From Avid Aircraft

Single-Seat "Experimental Light Sport Aircraft" Kit

Avid Aircraft of Montana's new Buzz is "about 15 pounds too heavy to meet the 254-pound weight limit for single-seat Part 103 ultralights," says Avid president Jim Tomash. Jim and Kim Tomash bought Avid Aircraft in late summer '99 and moved the aircraft manufacturing company from Caldwell, Idaho to Ennis, Montana.

What's in a name? Quite a lot if you're marketing a product. But it's not too likely that ultralighters will buy a brand-new aircraft based solely on its name.

So why the buzz about this aircraft's name? Well, one of the definitions in the dictionary for buzz is to talk, often excitedly, in subdued tones. No doubt Avid would like the Buzz to be the topic of everyone's hangar flying.

Avid Aircraft of Montana labels their new Buzz a "single-seat Experimental Light-Sport Aircraft" kit. It doesn't meet the requirements of FAR Part 103, according to Avid Aircraft of Montana president Jim Tomash. And FAA's new Light-Sport Aircraft category hasn't been approved yet, so Avid is anticipating approval.

Standard features of the Buzz include: folding wings, heavy-duty bungee cord landing gear suspension, 800x6 tundra tires, hydraulic mainwheel brakes, wheel lock braces, Maule tailwheel, elevator trim, basic VFR instruments (altimeter, ASI, compass, turn-and-bank indicator), adjustable bucket seat with 4-point pilot restraint system, cargo area, 9-gallon fuel tank, fiberglass wing tips and propeller spinner, booted cowling, doors, elevator trim, choice of motor mount, and fabric, glue and tape provided. The standard engine on the Buzz is an 80-hp Jabiru 4-stroke powerplant, available from Avid Aircraft. Options include Rotax engines.

Avid Aircraft, manufacturer of the Champion* ultralight and other Experimental-category aircraft, was sold in '99, and new owners Jim and Kim Tomash moved the company to Ennis, Montana. The "new" company ­ Avid Aircraft of Montana ­ is manufacturing the new fixed-wing taildragger called the Buzz.

Avid Aircraft of Montana indicates the kit should take about 300 hours for an experienced builder to complete, or 400 hours for a first-time builder. The company says they offer a "free 2-week builders assist program at the factory."

Price for the new Buzz kit is $10,995 (excluding engine, propeller and paint). A tandem 2-seat version of the Buzz is "in the works," says Avid president Jim Tomash.

*See "Industry Watch: New for '98 Flying Season ­ the Champion," June '98 Ultralight Flying! magazine. For a flight evaluation of the Champion ultralight, see "UF! Pilot's Report: An Avid for Ultralighters ­ the Champion UL," October '98 UF! magazine

­- Buzz Chalmers

Introductory flight at the factory: free. Info: free. Avid Aircraft of Montana, 5057 Highway 287 North, Dept. UF, Ennis, MT 59729. Phone: (406) 682-5615 * Fax: (406) 682-5554.