U.S. Airborne Imports Airtime Products

Powerlite Trikes Can Utilize Hang Gliders for Wings

U.S. Airborne Sport Aviation Center is importing the lightweight single-seat Powerlite line of trike carriages from Australia's Airtime Products. The trikes are appropriate for use with modern hang glider wings, which many former hang glider pilots still have, according to U.S. Airborne's Scott Johnson.

Scott Johnson of U.S. Airborne Sport Aviation Center, a trike ultralight dealer and Miniplane powered paraglider manufacturer in Asotin, Washington, reports his company is now importing single-seat Powerlite trikes from Australia's Airtime Products. "U.S. Airborne is highly involved in the U.S. air sport aviation marketplace," Johnson says.

U.S. Airborne Sport Aviation Center has added Powerlite trikes, Explorer powered hang glider harnesses and Discovery foot-launched backpack-style powered paragliding units to their list of air sport products. "We have now started importing what we consider to be one of the best lines of light trikes, powered hang glider harnesses and powered paragliders in the world, from Airtime Products," Johnson says. (See next month's "Industry Watch" for information on the Explorer powered hang glider harness and Discovery powered paragliding units.) Johnson's company also is a dealer for Australia's Airborne* line of trikes and South African manufacturer Rainbow Aircraft's Aerotrike Cobra** and Aerotrike Safari***trikes. And U.S. Airborne also manufacturers the Miniplane****powered paraglider. "The Powerlite trikes have been designed to fit a hang glider wing," U.S. Airborne notes. Most trike wings these days are specifically designed for heavier trike carriages. In general, such trike wings are probably too fast and too stiff in handling to be successfully foot-launched and -landed as free-flight (nonpowered) hang gliders. Lightweight trike carriages, however, are being used with hang glider wings, and many trike pilots were formerly hang glider pilots with a hang glider stored unused in their garages. Johnson (and other trike dealers in the ultralight industry) see these pilots as a potential market for lightweight trikes. "Powerlite trikes are extremely light and maneuverable to fly," Johnson says. "They have the comfort and ease of launching a trike with the soaring capability of a hang glider."

One key to producing a lightweight trike carriage is using a lighter engine to power it. Powerlite trikes use either the Swedish 14-hp (at 9,000 rpm) Radne 2-cycle engine or the Italian-made 21-hp (at 7,200 rpm) Cors-Air 2-cycle powerplant. "The state-of-the-art Radne and Cors-Air motors are both specifically designed for aviation," U.S. Airborne says. "They have proven to be low-maintenance and extremely reliable," the company claims. "Importers of these engines provide a 12-month warranty, and U.S. Airborne stocks a full range of spare parts." The power-to-weight ratios of the Cors-Air and Radne 2-cycle engines are good enough to also use them as powerplants for Airtime Products' Discovery line of powered paragliders, and the 120cc 13-hp model Radne engine is used on their Explorer powered hang glider harness. Powerlite trikes are constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum, and "the Powerlite trike base is designed to be very robust to handle rough takeoff and landing sites," U.S. Airborne says. The Powerlite R135 features the 18-hp Radne 2-cycle engine with centrifugal clutch and carbon-fiber composite prop, in-flight restart capability, intake silencer, 10-liter (2.6-gallon) fuel tank, Corduraseat with storage and radio pockets, and carry/storage bag. The Powerlite C122 and C130 trikes feature Cors-Air 2-cycle engines with electric start and a self-charging system, intake silencer, 10-liter (2.6-gallon) fuel tank, Cordura seat with storage and radio pockets, and carry/storage bag. Options include: instruments (tach, EGT and CHT), stone guard, and electric start (for the R135 model). "The quick-release 2.6-gallon fuel tank will give up to 3 hours motoring, depending on the wing used and wind conditions," U.S. Airborne says. "The ability to quickly remove the fuel tank is a bonus for transportation and refueling when out-landing near a service station."

Prices are: Powerlite R135, $4,400; Powerlite C122 and C130, $4,975. All prices are in U.S. dollars and do not include trike wing or delivery.

*For a flight evaluation of the Streak 2000, see "UF! Pilot's Report: Airborne's Streak 2000 Wing," October '00 Ultralight Flying! magazine
**For a flight evaluation, see "UF! Pilot's Report: Striking Cobra - South Africa's Aerotrike Goes First Class," April '02 UF!magazine
***For a flight evaluation, see "UF! Pilot's Report: Rollison's Rainbow - the Aerotrike Safari From South Africa," February '99 UF! magazine
****See "Industry Watch - New for the 2000 Flying Season: Miniplane Quieter Than Weedeater," June '00 UF! magazine; and "Industry Watch: U.S. Airborne Markets Miniplane Powered Paraglider," May '00 UF! magazine

- Buzz Chalmers
Info: U.S. Airborne Sport Aviation Center, 1212 5th St., PO Box 579, Dept. UF, Asotin, WA 99402. Phone: (509) 243-4988 * e-mail: info@
usairborne.com .