Special Feature

Rod's Report: Sun 'n Fun 2022

Rod Simpson reports from this year’s Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in in Florida, USA

SNF22
Photo: Mike Goulian

Held from 5-10 April at Lakeland-Linder Airport in Florida, the season-opening Sun’n Fun Fly-in returned to normal after the Covid-19 crisis.

There was strong support from the light aircraft manufacturers along with plenty of other vendors, seminars and events to keep attendees satisfied and a daily airshow starring the Thunderbirds and numerous warbird formations.

Fly-in visitors were sparse in the early days, not helped by a vigorous thunderstorm on the Thursday, but the aircraft parking filled up at the end of the week and the crowds were clearly happy with what is always an enjoyable event.

Patriot
Super Patriot - another Super Cub evocation

Super Patriot

Who needs yet another copy of the Piper Super Cub? Cub Crafters and American Legend seem to do it very well but Patriot Aircraft of Birmingham, Alabama thinks it has the ultimate answer. With a reputation for top class overhauls of Piper high-wingers, the company has been flying the new Super Patriot since early 2022 and will sell builder-assist kits priced at $291,500. The PA-18 has been completely redesigned to improve performance and eliminate the maintenance glitches of the original. Powered by a 176hp Lycoming O-320, the Super Patriot cabin is 4-inches wider than the PA-18, has 90-inch flaps, a squared-off wing and titanium undercarriage legs.

Daher TBM960
Daher TBM 960

Daher TBM 960

Daher unveiled the new TBM 960 at Sun’n Fun as a replacement for the TBM 940. It features a new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6E-66XT engine with a digital e-throttle and Hartzell five-bladed Raptor propeller both controlled by the EPECS (Engine and Propeller Electronic Control System to deliver up to 10% improved fuel efficiency. There is also a new digitally-controlled cabin with new LED lighting and electrically dimmable windows.

Cubcrafters NXCub
Cubcrafters NXCub

Cubcrafters NXCub

Cubs are all taildraggers ?  Well not quite, now that Cub Crafters has introduced the NXCub. The company has been surprised at demand for this tricycle gear version of the XCub which is powered by  a 215hp CC393i engine and is available factory complete as a certified  FAA Part 23 aircraft or as Experimental Amateur Built with Cub Crafters’ builder assist programme.

Montaer MC-01
Montaer MC-01
Montaer MC-01 interior
Cabin of the Montaer MC-01

Montaer MC-01

The Montaer MC-01 light sport two-seater is an all-metal design built in Brazil. It is derived from the Paradise P1, several of which were sold in the USA and it has one of the most luxurious cabins we have seen on an LSA and includes a third door to access the rear baggage area. An optional feature is hand-operated controls for disabled pilots

Scalebirds P-36
Scalebirds P-36

Scalebirds P-36

Be a World War II fighter pilot with your own P-36 ! The Scalebirds Lightfighter P-36 is an approximate half-scale version of the Curtiss original and the quickbuild kit sells for $39,000. It is powered by a 124hp 7-cylinder Verner 7U radial engine and the basic airframe design can be adapted as a Hellcat, Focke Wulf 190 or, perhaps, a Mitsubishi Zero. Top speed is 130kt and the useful load is 325 lb.

Dornier Do.28A
Dornier Do.28A

Dornier Do.28A

Attracting much attention was this rare all-red Dornier Do.28A-1 light twin. Originally delivered to Denmark in 1961 for service in the Faroe Islands and Greenland, it went on to the USA for operation on floats by Isle Royale Seaplane Service. Then, it languished in a hangar for several years, along with another Do.28, until rescued by Pep Anderas of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Beech AT-11
Beech AT-11 Kansan

Beech AT-11 Kansan

It looks like a Beech 18 – but what is that funny nose ? A welcome warbird, owned by Fran and John Hess,  was this rare Beech AT-11 Kansan. Produced as a navigation and bombing trainer and for aerial photography, it was built in August, 1941 and served with the Air Force Bomb Training School at Victorville. A close look underneath reveals the bombing compartments for practice bombs.

TB-30 Epsilon
TB-30 Epsilon

Socata Epsilon

Warbird enthusiasts have a new alternative to the T-6 Texan/Harvard and the Chinese Nanchang CJ.6. The French Air Force has been releasing its TB-30 Epsilon tandem seat trainers which have retractable gear and are powered by the 300hp Lycoming AEIO-540 piston engine. We counted five at Sun ’n Fun.

Zenith Monster
Zenith Monster STOL

Zenith Monster STOL

One of the strangest aircraft at Sun ’n Fun was the Zenith Monster (Super Duty) owned by Jan Eggenfellner of Viking Aircraft Engines and powered by one of their 195hp engines. The highly modified aircraft is for use in Short takeoff (STOL) competitions. Key to its performance is the very tall undercarriage which positions the aircraft at a high angle of attack allowing it to take off in only 44 feet !

Texas Colt
Texas Colt

Texas Colt

Yet another Brazilian design, the Texas Colt is a development of the popular INPAER Conquest 180. This LSA has a tubular steel cabin structure with metal cladding and a monocoque rear fuselage and metal wings and tail. The engine is a 100hp Rotax 912ULS and 17 have been produced at the Hondo, Texas factory to date, selling for $175,000 with Dynon or Garmin avionics.

Beech G59 Baron
Beech G58 Baron

Textron upgrades

With no Bonanza or Baron deliveries last year questions have been asked about their future – but fear not ! Together with other Textron piston engined aircraft, they have been given a makeover with the G36 Bonanza having a 155lb increase in maximum takeoff weight and, along with the G58 Baron and the high wing models, having a Garmin GI275 electronic standby. The Beechcrafts have a new autopilot controller and there is a new interior with USB ports at each seat and a redesigned cockpit layout.

Veloce 400
Veloce 400

Velocé 400

If the four-seat kit-build Velocé 400 looks familiar it is because it is a new version of Rich Trickle’s KIS Cruiser which went out of production several years ago and was briefly manufactured in El Salvador. The Velocé 400, making its debut at Sun’n Fun, is manufactured in Brazil and powered by a 210hp IO-390, 275hp TIO-540 or 300hp Aeromomentum AM.300HP engine. The kit sells for $49,000 excluding the engine.

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