- Jul 30, 2008
Within the Light Sport Airplane category, which airplane is the fastest for long cross country flights?
Nope. Every owner/builder I have talked to say that the Zodiac cruise numbers are HIGHLY inflated. with a 100hp Corvair or continental most guys are seeing cruise speeds of ~125mph TAS at 8,000ft.
The numbers qouted on the Sonex website are pretty accurate (some say conservative). A Jabiru 3300 powered Sonex will usually go high170's-low 180's max speed straight and level. If you have a Jabiru 3300, at 8,000 and 2850rpm (the max continuous recommended by jabiru), folks are seeing around 150mph+ true. However many folks fly the jabiru at higher rpms at that altitude. WOT at 8,000 is usually 3050-3100rpm. This rpm is beyond the engine manufacturers recommended max continous, but people have flown it at this rate with no noticable problems. At that rpm and altitude, people are seeing 170mph true (or better), just like that factory states.You never mentioned the fastest LSA. How's the Sonex's speed?
There doesn't seem to be a separate glider license anymore. It's a category on a sport pilot, recreational pilot or private pilot license. So, a medical seems to be required to fly anything with Vh > 120 kt.The top speed of LSA are all restricted to <120 knots. If you want to go faster without needing a medical, you can get a glider license (no medical required) and fly a motorglider. The Pipistrel Virus motor-glider has a 121.5 kt cruise, 129.5 kt top speed and 800 sm range.
Oops, I was only half right. There is no "glider license", but the current FAR says: (b) Operations not requiring a medical certificate. A person is not required to hold a valid medical certificate—There doesn't seem to be a separate glider license anymore. It's a category on a sport pilot, recreational pilot or private pilot license. So, a medical seems to be required to fly anything with Vh > 120 kt.
Actually, it is the engine manufacturer that sets max continuous power, not the LSA manufacturer. Rotax 912s have a max continous power of about 90% (e.g. the 912S has a max power of 100hp with a max continous of 90hp)....I have seen some references to "75% power". There is nothing in the LSA rules that state Maximum Continuous Power as 75% power. If a S-LSA manufacturer wants to set the maximum continuous power at 100% or any other number, they can. The above mentioned Sting with the supplied prop will do 120 KIAS at sea level on a standard day at 5800 rpm.