Express-Aircraft purchased, finally

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Midniteoyl

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**News** Express-Aircraft purchased, finally

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Express-Aircraft Purchased by Exosphere Aircraft Company

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON July 5, 2005 Express Aircraft Company, LLC, a Washington Limited Liability Company signed and closed an Assignment of Membership Interest Agreement with Exosphere Aircraft, Company Inc., a Washington corporation. The purchase will allow the company to re-establish marketing and sales of the aircraft kits and fulfill backorders.
The Express fast-build kits combined with the Builder Assist Program located at the factory and factory finishing services can get a customer flying in 400 hours of customer build time. Other comparisons show that the Express 2000FT is the right answer for real-world use. The low stall speed (dirty) of 53 knots and demonstrated cross wind component of 29 knots means you have more margin of safety for low speed maneuvering and landing.
About Express Air
Express Aircraft manufactures kits for the 2000FT model a high-performance, composite-construction aircraft that is fast, yet maintains a low-landing speed while carrying a 1,000 pound payload AND 140 gallons of fuel. It is a long-distance cruising airplane that can carry a family of four in comfort and accommodate their luggage in a spacious cabin.

The Express Series 2000FT features a cabin class useful load of 1875 pounds, 375 pounds more than available in other kits and even ahead of certified aircraft in the top end of the light aircraft price range. Fuel capacity is 140 gallons verses 90 and the 2000FT can carry that extra 50 gallons of fuel and still fill all four seats plus luggage. The large rear seating and luggage areas make your passengers feel like they are in a cabin class aircraft.

________________________
Safe harbor statement under the private Securities Litigation reform Act of 1995
This news release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the Company¡¦s expectations about successfully selling its products and about the positive effects of the acquisition described herein. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from future results expressed or implied in such statements. These risks and uncertainties include the inability to manage expected growth, the failure to realize the increased revenues and improved operating margins that the Company has associated with sales of our products, the loss of any key personnel, our inability to introduce new products that are accepted by the market, the loss or non-performance of our sales representatives, unfavorable results of potential litigation, and the possibility that competitors could develop or acquire technology that could erode the Company¡¦s technical advantages. The Company disclaims any obligation to update any such factors or to announce publicly the results of any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements contained in this news release.
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Leighton

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**** CJ, with those specs even IM thinking about ordering up, and i hate composites!

man, that things quite a looker too. would look **** good in my hangar
 
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Dieselfume

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Gonna have to change your sig now!

Hmmm, that reminds me, I could update mine too, new job...

Glad to see they are back in business. They have a pretty hot aircraft. At arlington 04 I thought they had the most practical best looking kit there. Quite comfy and lots of room. I'd consider one too, but I imagine the water handling characteristics are quite poor...
 

Midniteoyl

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Order up!

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Gonna have to change your sig now!

Hmm... might just wait till they are up and running :whistle:



Specs are d@mn nice, and are real, except speed. Like most kits, it really depends on the build quility and pilot. Alot of people put in a Lyc 260hp-300hp and cruise slower @75%, but still in the high 150's to mid 160's.

I just wish more people would seriously consider, and purchase, the kit...
 
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Captain_John

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OH COME ON, Oylman!!!

Nuttin' to it but ta DO IT!!!

If everyone thought like you, nothing would EVER happen!

:roll:

Just jump on the bandwagon! You know you like it!

Get on with the building!!!

:ban: CJ
 

orion

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I think there are several reasons most don't conisder the kit as a viable option. First, if you follow the history, this airplane line has been in and out of business about five times now. That does not instill confidence.

Second, although much refined now as well as re-engineered, most folks still seem to look at the airplane as a Wheeler Express, which was a disaster waiting to happen (I did an engineering survey of the product for a group of potential buyers when Wheeler originally went belly up). It should have been renamed.

Third, the company is a one trick pony - there are no other products to fall back on if the main line suffers from a lack of sales. This is the death knell for anyone looking to get into the business - a company needs to cover the market with several products, not just one.

Fourth, a virtual guarantee of failure is locking the airplane in on one engine. This last failure can almost singly be attributed to their choosing of the Continental FADEC IO-550, and basing their sales projections on the delivery of the same. As in most cases, here again the engine manufacturer could not deliver as promised and so the potential customers either delayed their orders or just waited to see if Express could deliver - when they couldn't they either canceled their orders of just didn't buy in the first place.

And finally, the kit price had climbed to beyond what most people consider a good homebuilt kit. This left only a narrow market of buyers, most of whom were very cautious when it came to believing promised delivery dates. When those slipped to more than a year (as a fuction of promised engine deliveries) out, those customers went elsewhere.
 

Captain_John

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You know, Orion. That is a very enlightening summary of the line, which I never knew the deatils of.

Tell me, it resembles the certified Cirrus. Is there any link to the Cirrus or is it just a coincedence?

I know that the spin recovery procedure in the Cirrus is to pull the BRS. This DOESN'T sound like a good solution to a spin recovery if you ask me.

I see the wing is slightly different. It lacks the stepped leading edge and appears to be longer at the tips.

:confused: CJ
 

StRaNgEdAyS

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I know it's a little off topic, but...
Originally posted by Captain_John

I know that the spin recovery procedure in the Cirrus is to pull the BRS. This DOESN'T sound like a good solution to a spin recovery if you ask me.
That's one bad thing about the BRS system, it almost encourages people to fly in situations or attitudes that they would ordinarily avoid.
I can see a mentality of "I don't need to worry about practicing my UAR procedures, I have a BRS to save my ass" or, "Yeah, it is looking a little dark, but we'll leave anyway, if we get into trouble, the BRS will save us"
People will soon forget that this system is a last line of defence and pull them at the first sign of trouble, or fly beyond their ordinarily set limits simply because they have a BRS. It's an example of a great safety device that can and probably will quickly fall into misuse.
 

orion

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There is no connection between the two airplanes. But both are designed with interior room in mind, something that most designers for the industry have been ignoring for years, continually designing to the FAR specified 170 pound occupant. That may have been applicable forty to fifty years ago, but certainly not today (and certainly not for me).

As far as the wings are concerned, all the "stuff" we see on the Cirrus wing is really just an indirect admission that they designed a poor wing in the first place and had to add a bunch of stuff just so they could get the silly thing certified.

The latest wing on the Express was actually pretty good - if I recall correctly it only used a small leading edge trip strip at the root to give a betteer indication of the onset of stall, but that's about it. Otherwise it had very good low end characteristics, including in full and accelerated stalls, as well as easy boundary layer reattachment, even in a spin situation. I think the company still recommended against intentional spins but overall the behavior was very predictable.
 

Dieselfume

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Tell you what, that BRS doesn't make me feel 100% warm and fuzzy about getting out of a jam. The latest BRS used on a Cirrus seems to have been appropriately used since the guy blacked out and came to... But he sustained serious injuries, including busting his back. Sometimes I think people forget to "fly the airplane" when things go wrong. In this case, the guy flew the airplane even after pulling the chute.

http://www.avweb.com/newspics/secondplace_1128.jpg

http://www.avweb.com/newswire/11_27b/
 

Lakeview Bill

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Originally posted by Captain_John
You know, Orion. That is a very enlightening summary of the line, which I never knew the deatils of.

Tell me, it resembles the certified Cirrus. Is there any link to the Cirrus or is it just a coincedence?

I know that the spin recovery procedure in the Cirrus is to pull the BRS. This DOESN'T sound like a good solution to a spin recovery if you ask me.

I see the wing is slightly different. It lacks the stepped leading edge and appears to be longer at the tips.

:confused: CJ
People will soon forget that this system is a last line of defence

As far as the Cirrus goes, I'm afraid you are wrong.

One of the problems is that Cirrus jocks try to recover from spins, and by the time they figure out that they can't, they are past the threshold for successful deployment of the BRS.

When flying the Cirrus, it's not a case of "if all else fails", it's a case of "if anything fails".

Other aircraft may behave differently, but in the Cirrus your primary recovery technique is "pull the handle".

This topic has been beaten to death in a variety of forums, but that is what the Cirrus POH advises...
 

Captain_John

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The first thing we do in aircraft that we are getting used to and testing is stalls. Power on, power off and turning.

With this plane being so, well... as the company says... "Resistant", does a CFI still do stalls with the new pilot?

It seems to me that bringing the plane to the point of stall is as close as one can get to spin entry. Is that the place for a new pilot to be? ...at least a pilot that is new to the aircraft? I would think it isn't a place for the experienced test pilot to be with the Cirrus!

:confused: CJ
 

Captain_John

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It is...

From what I have gathered, this plane (Cirrus) passed that requirement by employing the BRS chute.

Recovery is accomplished by deploying the chute.

Not the way I like it.

I would prefer to use pilot technique, recover and keep on flying than to rely on the chute and have a subsequent forced landing.

...just me (and maybe others here I think).

:whistle: CJ
 

Jman

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Here are some instances when I may be happy I had a BRS installed:

In flight structural or flight control malfunction. I can't imagine what it would be like to take that last helpless 1000 ft ride with a locked elevator or no engine on the mount.

Inadvertent IMC in mountainous terrain. Absolutely NO EXCUSE for getting myself into that situation, however, I am human and do make mistakes. I'm IFR qualified but my aircraft will not be IFR equipped. If I don't wander into VMC before hitting something or my tanks run dry......I don't even want to think about it.

Medical emergency. Heart attack, stroke, insulin shock, bird striking my face at 80 kts (blind, broken jaw, etc...), extreme spatial disorientation. You get the idea.

Would a BRS save me in these situations? Maybe, maybe not - but with my Son in the front seat, having one more tool in the tool box might not be such a bad thing.

Will I have one in my Pietenpol? Probably not because I can't afford the weight penalty. Same reason I won't equip my Pietenpol with full IFR gear just in case I go inadvertent IMC. My Son and I will probably just have to live with the risk.

Jake
 

Rhino

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Forgive a relative newbie. Exactly what about the Wheeler Express made it "a disaster waiting to happen"?
 

orion

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The original Wheeler Express was actually a slightly scaled up but direct copy of a Glasair. Mr. Wheeler bought a Glasair I kit and copied it virtually piece for piece, with the exception of the fuselage, which he reformed (off the Glasair fuselage) to come up with the larger airframe. The amusing thing was that those who knew what to look for, recognised that Mr. Wheeler copied even Glasair's mistakes.

The resulting aircraft had several significant problems. First, the new fuselage loft was very poor in design and as such, suffered from a nearly total boundary layer separation just aft of the pilot's position. This seperated flow then tended to blanket the empennage, resulting in horrible low speed control. To fix this Mr. Wheeler just started adding Bondo until the shape worked (sort of). This however resulted in the prototype being so heavy that it nearly sat on its tail without anyone in the front seat. It was so tail heavy that it was not allowed to fly with the rear seats occupied.

The original version used the same airfoil as the Glasair, which was a poor choice for the Glasair and even worse for the Wheeler. Among other things, the high pitching moment (coupled with a too small horizontal tail) resulted in a very small allowable CG range. One of the first test pilots was quoted that the only two things that allowed him to land safely were that he came in very hot and that the horizontal was accidntaly built with a bulge in the lower surface, resulting in a cambered airfoil that was a bit more effective for the flare than if it had been built correctly with the symmetrical section with which it was designed. Eventually this was corrected by adding more than 30% to the horizontal's area.

There were also several very serious structural issues. The first was the method in which the original horizontal was built. Rather than assembling a one piece skin of the horizontal stab, the section was built so that the skin formed one side of the horizontal and one side of the vertical, in a 90 deg. molded angle (four molded angles per airplane). But when all these pieces were assembled, there was only very minimal structural connection between the left and the right stab components. This resulted in serious stress concentrations (not good in composites) and very low stiffness.

This, coupled with the second problem, a lack of stiffness in the aft fuselage, resulted in an airplane that in my opinion would be susceptible to flutter. I reported this to the buyers that I was supporting at the time, but the company vehemently objected, indicating that they had no indications of flutter. Coincidently, a week later the first Canadian Express fluttered in the tail, delaminating virtually the entire rear portion of the airplane. Fortunately, enough stayed together to allow the pilot to make a safe emergency landing.

There were numerous other problems, some serious and some less so, most of which were corrected over time and as new owners took possesion of the company. Whether all the issues were corrected or not I don't know, but it seems that the last two owners did quite a bit to make a good and reliable airplane out of it. I still think it needs a good and thorough going over but at this point, I'm not sure if any new buyer will be interested in doing so.
 

Midniteoyl

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Key point to make in all of this are the words "Wheeler Express" ie, the original. All indications from the S-90 and 2000FT owners currently flying are that the plane is very easy to fly and land. One I know of has done light aerobatics with no ill effects.

Another point to make: The Wheeler fuselage was the one tested in NASA's 'drop tests' (same one on the Discovery Channel) and was the only one to pass :D


As for engine: The 'FADAC Excuse' was just that, and excuse. Most people used a Lyc 540 with some 360's thrown in. Bad management decisions killed EAC, pure and simple.
 

Midniteoyl

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Heh CJ... I would if I could. But they have to actually be building parts and taking orders first :p:
 
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