Which plane is the safest / most durable?

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JayKoit

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I'm looking at a couple designs for my build, and would like some feedback about safety and durability of said designs:

ICP Savannah VG-
Main site: ICP
US Site: icpnorthamerica.com

BRM Land Africa - (Very similar to ICP)
Main site: BRM Costruções Aeronáuticas, Lda
US Site: PLANE PERFECTION

I'm also looking at three tube and fabric designs, two are aluminum tube:

Skyranger - SkyRanger Kits
X-air H - Southern X-Air Xair Model H Hanuman Airplane

And finally, the Super Skyraider - Sky Raider, LLC - Aircraft

The thoughts on their safety and durability are the most important, but I also welcome any general feedback you may have heard on any of these manufacturers, customer service, flyability, owner satisfaction, etc. Thanks!
 

JayKoit

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Which one has the tubular 4130 welded frame inside? :speechles
Sorry, I meant to write that in my original post -- the Super Skyraider is the only one with a chromoly frame/cage. I'm guessing that's my safest bet then? How do the others compare?
 

djschwartz

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Safest in what way? Least likely to be involved in a crash or most likely to be survivable in a crash? There are many other aspects of safety than just these two as well. Among these are which aircraft provides the most performance margin for the mission profile you have in mind. Unless you can provide a more complete description of your mission profile and the aspects of safety that are of most concern to you it will be hard to give you meaningful and relevant comments.

Dave
 

Joe Fisher

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These are all really light airplanes with marginal performance. They are very susceptible to gusty winds and precipitation. In ideal conditions you may be-able to take off in a given distance a 10 deg. rise in temperature or 20# of extra weight could easily double you take off distance. Safety is having an airplane that is up to the intended task. As example I can do things with my Piper J3 65 Hp solo that I would not dare try with a passenger. In a PA 18 Super Cub 150hp there is almost no precivable difference in solo performance and with a passenger. A 172 Cessna is a petty good 2 place and with 4 people you have to use more care. A 182 Cessna is a full 4 place airplane. But the 182 Cessna can not operate out of a 300' clearing that a solo J3 Cub can.
 
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JayKoit

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Safest in what way? Least likely to be involved in a crash or most likely to be survivable in a crash?
Yes and yes, in that order. As far as my mission profile, I'm looking to build and LSA that I can build time in. I want to use this plane to get a few hundred flight hours in, practice practice practice, and then start flying 172/182's for my private certificate, as my end game is to own and fly a family hauler. So most of my time will be spent flying solo, except when I bring another pilot or cfi friend on board to show me some things. I want the safest plane possible that I can fit into my budget of both time AND money. I'm considering these kits because they are much quicker and much cheaper to build than the Kitfox and Vans series, but they all are BRS parachute compatible and relatively slow flyers with slow stall speeds, which I would think puts them on the safer end of the spectrum.

Dave[/QUOTE]

These are all really light airplanes with marginal performance. They are very susceptible to gusty winds and precipitation. In ideal conditions you may be-able to take off in a given distance a 10 deg. rise in temperature or 20# of extra weight could easily double you take off distance. Safety is having an airplane that is up to the intended task. As example I can do things with my Piper J3 65 Hp solo that I would not dare try with a passenger. In a PA 18 Super Cub 150hp there is almost no precivable difference in solo performance and with a passenger. A 172 Cessna is a petty good 2 place and with 4 people you have to use more care. A 182 Cessna is a full 4 place airplane. But the 182 Cessna can not operate out of a 300' clearing that a solo J3 Cub can.
Again, I would be flying mostly by myself to practice maneuvers, approaches, stalls, slips, etc. so I was thinking with 80-100 HP under the cowl I'd have pretty good performance from an LSA standpoint. I'd love to go bigger and heavier plane-wise but my wallet is too light. :) However, you bring up a good point with their light weight and susceptability to gusty/ precipitous conditions, duly noted.
 

Pops

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My little single seat Cub will perform about like 150 Hp Super Cub, but like Joe Fisher said, with the light wing loading, winds and turbulence really affect it. I tell everyone that I get wake-turbulence off a robin. But with 60 HP with a EW of 450 lbs, there is no difference between heavy or light.
A friend of mine has a Super Skyraider with a 60 HP HKS engine and it performs equal with my aircraft.
 

JayKoit

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My little single seat Cub will perform about like 150 Hp Super Cub, but like Joe Fisher said, with the light wing loading, winds and turbulence really affect it. I tell everyone that I get wake-turbulence off a robin. But with 60 HP with a EW of 450 lbs, there is no difference between heavy or light.
A friend of mine has a Super Skyraider with a 60 HP HKS engine and it performs equal with my aircraft.
Pops, how does your friend like the Super Skyraider with the HKS? seems like a good plane, and a good powerplant to go with it. There's not too many flying so it's hard to get direct feedback.
 

Pops

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He likes it very well. Lots of power for the airframe. Great combination of engine and airframe. His field is across a ridge that is 700' long with steep drop-off on each end on his farm. The rear seat would be OK for a very small person or single place with baggage.


Pops, how does your friend like the Super Skyraider with the HKS? seems like a good plane, and a good powerplant to go with it. There's not too many flying so it's hard to get direct feedback.
 

cluttonfred

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The Sky Ranger is little known in the USA but it is the most popular microlight in France and also very common in the UK, Germany and other countries. The original model, which initially used two-stroke engines, is still available as the basic V Fun. The later BCARS-certified variant is called the V Max and includes a stronger control system, ventral fin, etc. The Swift is the faster, short-wing V Max. The newest model is the much-refined Nynja with composite fuselage shell and nicer interior. The Sky Ranger family is very popular with flight schools as they are tough, easy to fly, quick to build and, if the are damaged by a ham-handed student pilot, easy to repair. I have flown a few hours in one and would not hesitate to recommend it. They have also won the world microlight championships more often than any other aircraft.

Best Off Sky Ranger models

Best Off Sky Ranger.jpg
 

Pops

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A friend of mine bought an early Sky Ranger before they added the sub fin. I have flown over 85 different aircraft and it tops the list for the worse handling aircraft. They added the sub fin for a big reason. When you are at the bottom the only way is up. I hope its a lot better now.
The Sky Ranger is bolted together aluminum tubing and sailcloth.
I do like the Super Skyraider with the HKS engine very much.
 

Pops

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I agree 100%. If I was starting a new project, it would be the Bearhawk LSA.
I told Bob Barrows that I think the BH-LSA will be more popular than the 4 seat Bearhawk and Patrol combined. A great aircraft at the right time.




It's not on your list, but I recommend the Bearhawk LSA.
 

CarlB

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Four of us bought a used ELSA Sky Ranger with a 100hp Rotax that was originally used for instruction before the exemption ended for that. Two of us got our LS pilot license in the plane, so we were very familiar with it. We were fortunate enough to realize its limitations, (its light weight limits crosswind accommodation to 15kts), and that it is a rudder aircraft, (but hey, I had 100+ hours in a T-Craft, so I know what feet are for), - I have not found any handling quirks that are unusual on our non-finned plane. The engine is very economical, usually burning less than 4gal per hour doing the put-putting around locally.

Climb performance is sparkling, even with two on board when density altitude is 7k' in the summer here.

I went used because I knew the plane's history and the fact that the engine was maintained by a Rotax certified mechanic. One can spend a lot of time building from a kit and/or plans and find out very quickly that it is not for them, especially if you have never built anything on that scale.

However, if you took the money you would spend on building a plane, getting a LS license and just spent it on getting your PPL, I think you would save money.
 
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