Aug 29th

Does everyone need an expensive, high power, fast trike?

By Paul Hamilton

Recently, there have been a number of comments that EVERYONE is pushing EVERYBODY into expensive, high power, fast trikes. I would like to set the record straight as to my feeling about this.

Does everyone need an expensive, high power, fast trike? Simply… NO.

Here is my story about my decisions to buy the trikes I bought.

I first put a trike undercarriage on my modified hang glider in 1981. A Fugi Robins  engine. About 30 HP. Not much. It would barely get off the ground at 5000 foot density altitude but it was awesome to get flying in a trike. I had a great time with this. Fast forward to 2001.

I decided to buy a two place trike since my wife/girlfriend wanted to go up and move on from Hang Gliding. It was allot of money so I economized bought a Cosmos 503 (verses a 582) because it was light weight, less expensive, and I liked the wing. Soon after I got it I flew this slow Rotax 503 on a cross country from Carson, down the Sierras, up to Mount Whitney 14,000 and the trike Odyssey was filmed.


I flew this slow, underpowered trike to 17,000 feet, flew 250 pound students to 10,000 MSL regularly,  trained many pilots. Did I need an expensive, high power, fast trike? NO.

Than in 2010, the FAA cracked down and my experimental was no longer allowed to be used for flight training. I waited for the LODA. Nothing. So I decided to buy a trike. By this time everyone was flying the 80 HP Rotax 912 and EVERYONE is pushing EVERYBODY into these more expensive, high power, fast trikes. I simply could not afford a 912 so I bought an Apollo Monsoon 582 S-LSA when I decided to go into trike flying full time.

Again, I would fly it to 10,000 feet with 250 pound students, etc…. I was making a living at flight instruction in a Rotax 582. Did I need a need an expensive, high power, fast trike? NO. However, it is a 14.5 meter stiff wing and had wind turbulence limitations. I had to shut down training earlier than I wanted.

After 3 years and my third Rotax 582 engine which operated great all the time, I wanted a smaller wing that I could blast through the bumps with an easy handling wing I could increase my flight hours since I had to turn many flights down when the wind came up and it got bumpy during the day.

If I had a smaller wing, I could fly more hours and everyone would be happier. Bottom line, a smaller wing needs more horsepower . So after 3 years of flying full time I decided to sell my great Apollo Monsoon 582 and go to a 912S so I can get a smaller wing.

OK which trike? Here are the reasons why I choose a Revo, generally in the order of importance which helped my decision:

Topless small wings.

Easy to get in and out of loading and unloading people (similar to my Apollo Monsoon)

Easy handling/response for ease of flying and safety/recovery in the bumps

Almost everyone who calls and asks about buying a trike wants a Revo.

Super sexy looking.

Made in the USA with easy parts/great service.

Did I have to have an expensive Revo? No but it allows me to fly comfortably is more bumpy and windy conditions.

In fact we have a number of 503, 582, and 912 80 HP trikes at the airport here and the pilots are very happy with them.

Again. Do they need an expensive, high power, fast trike? NO. Not if you can live with the limitations.  

However, if you can afford a trike and you want to climb faster, get there quicker, fly in stronger conditions and be more comfortable overall, spend as much as you can and get the trike you want. You basically get what you pay for.

Aug 25th

Sport Aviation Center Introduces Triking to the Reno Air Races

By Paul Hamilton
After loving and growing up with the Reno Air Races, we are finally going to participate. Sport Aviation Center is going to have a booth with  a Revo front and center right between both big grandstands. We well be selling training materials and displaying a top of the line Revo trike. I was able to sweet talk the organizors into this prime location. We will be seen by everybody. This is my favorate airshow and we shall see what happens. Come by and see us if you are going to the RENO RACES September 10-14
Aug 25th

Advanced Trike Maneuvers

By Paul Hamilton
Recently it has been recognized that advanced trike maneuvers, above and beyond the PTS,  should be developed and practiced for safety and additional pilot proficiency. First, the spiral and spiral dive maneuver entry and exit should be known for every pilot. A spiral is a very high banked turn that can be entered from unintended turbulence or entered intentionally by the pilot for rapid altitude loss. Exiting a spiral is not a natural reflex based on basic pilot training and unwanted results from pilot not properly trained in spiral recovery had led to pilots spiraling into the ground. Simply, if pilots are trained how to properly exit a spiral, lives will be saved. This is the basis of this chapter was was added to the Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Additional maneuvers (Chandelle and Lazy Eight) were added that are used for commercial airplane training which help build pilot proficiency and new skills.
These maneuvers are excellent for pilot flight reviews and CFI training. Do not attempt these maneuvers and make sure your instructor is proficient in these maneuvers before advanced maneuvers training. Not all instructors are proficient or train these advanced maneuvers. 
Here is the chapter from the Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge book on advanced trike maneuvers.

Here is the page where the Chapter can be downloaded:  
Jul 12th

Stability matters

By Paul Hamilton

Yesterday I hid some of the worst turbulence I have hit in a long time. It was unexpected. Overall light winds predicted.  I took off 7:30 AM for a morning flight with an intro student. Climbed to 10,000 in glass calm air. A few rain drops but not much. Headed north for about 15 miles and started my descent. By this time the student was controlling the aircraft and doing a great job of it.



My hands were off the bar. At about 8,000 feet, to my surprise, airspeed drops and we stall, wing rises. I grabbed the bar to pull in and level the wing than hit with a gust and the airspeed jumps  to 80. Wow. This lasted about 2000 feet in a descent until it got glass calm again. I headed back to the airport and was going to go south announcing over the radio my intentions and one of my previous students announced over the radio hit had just hit severe turbulence where I was going. Flew back to the airport, did a couple of touch and goes in nice calm air and landed.


What happened? I fly many days when the sky looks the same. However, this morning there were some fresh cumulus above the cloud layer in the distance. Looking in greater detail at the winds aloft I see there was a ---  Rapid temperature drop: unstable air possible ---- note on the winds aloft. It was 10 C from 6000 to 9000. That is 3.3 C per 1000 feet. This is highly unusual. 2 C per 1000 feet is the normal lapse rate. In my weather to fly video I say that 3 c is highly unstable and 4 c is thunderstorm/tornado unstable.


Looking back after we landed I saw virga in that general area where the severe turbulence happened

Moral of the story is that stability matters and at these numbers above 3 C per 1000 feet it can affect you during the early morning.

Jul 7th

912s simple cooling enhancements

By Paul Hamilton

Thought this would be a helpful subject for all 912 owners.

At 6000 feet MSL, 95 degrees F max continuous my oil temperature is at 250 F using Aeroshell plus 4, and CHT at 250 with Dexcool 50/50. This is within limits but higher than I want.

I was told by a very reliable source who has a similar installation (you may identify yourself if you want but I know you want a low profile), that if I add AMSOIL Coolant Boost to my 50/50 Dexcool  system, I will get 10 to 10 degrees drop in coolant temperature.

I was also told that if I go to the AmsOil motorcycle 10/40 fully synthetic oil I will get a 10-20 degree drop in oil temperature and that the AmsOil is better overall when running only auto/MOGAS.

Any words of wisdom or experience with these two cooling enhancements?  I am pretty much going to do them since it makes sense.

Will running at these temperatures lower the life of the engine?

Jun 23rd

See SilverLight Aviation with Delta Jet II trike and AG1 gyroplane at Airventure 2014

By Abid Farooqui
Airventure 2014 starts July 28 and goes through August 3, 2014.
SilverLight Aviation will be flying both a Delta Jet II SLSA and an AG1 gyroplane to the airshow.
We are displaying in the Ultralight Area (Barn) booth: 909. Come and see why these aircraft are the best values in the business.

Jun 20th

Sign Petition for fair representation of trike pilots

By Rizwan Bukhari


I think this warrants a blog space. I read this petition and signed it because among many things, it asks for fair representation of pilots. This is your chance to do so as well. It is one thing to sit out and do nothing about an Issue or you can after reading the petition (if you agree with the message) support it. I think in all important decisions that impact our sport, all of us should have a fair representation.



Jun 14th

SilverLight Aviation's Delta Jet-II scheduled to be S-LSA by FAA

By Abid Farooqui

SilverLight Aviation's version of the Delta Jet-II trike will get its S-LSA US Light Sport Aircraft certificate in the coming few days.

SilverLight uses the carriage skeleton body sub-assembly from Halley factory in Hungary who has been partnered with us for over 9 years but that is where the similarities end.
The trike carriage is QA'ed to our specs and assembled at Zephyrhills, FL near Tampa. The wiring and avionics are designed and installed here, along with the powerplant installation. The props offered are the Aero prop or the upgrade to Sterna prop. Props are mounted with a 4" spool spacer to give plenty of clearance between the prop blades and wheelpant fins.

Full instructor package with back foot throttle and back instructor foot brake pedal and wing control bars is available as an option. Foot pedals are adjustable for up to 3.5 inches.

Trike carriage is available with standard 4 x 8.50 round profile tires with 3-wheel hydraulic disc brakes as standard or optionally with Turf Glide Tundra tires with a different wheel and brake package also with 3-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. These can also fit 6 x 6.00 aircraft tires.

Fuel tank is TIG welded 5000 series Aluminum of 14.5 useable gallons with fuel pickups with coarse filter strainers in it. Backup electrical fuel pump is standard. Two bags can fit under front seat and are provided as standard. Additional bags to go on landing gear fairings are optional. Leaf spring Aluminum landing gear gives nice soft suspention yet strong enough to take the hits.

The wing is called CHEVAL 12 and is specially developed by SilverLight Aviation and purpose fitted to Delta Jet-II trike with electric trim system. You cannot get this wing from anywhere else except from us. It has a speed range from 42 mph to 115 mph with cruise speed between 55 mph to 95 mph hands off. These are close to  real calibrated speed numbers not just what you see on the airspeed indicator. You won't be going in one direction and have a headwind and then turn 180 degrees and have a headwind still or at best not a tailwind anywhere near what you should see indicating bad installation/position errors in pitot/static system. Stall is almost non-existent in un-accelerated flight. In accelerated (turning) flight stalls are mild and easily controlled with no huge tendency to suddenly drop a wing tip hard.

The main thing about the wing is its sweet handling. Whether you are flying in smooth morning conditions, catching a sunset flight or flying at noon in mild to moderate convection. The wing gives a feeling of confidence and its light controls even 2-up with full fuel give you easy corrections to upset from its track. The wing absorbs turbulence and allows the pilot time to respond to turbulence with ease, giving a feeling of confident control.

In gliding flight, one can turn the wing to a medium bank and it has no tendency to roll into the turn further nor come out of the turn. With power application, due to torque turn to thr right tends to indeed roll in a little as expected which is easily stopped with a very slight pressure. During even steeper turns (45to 60 degrees bank), there isn't a need to push the bar out beynd a few inches (exxagerated J-maneuver) or high side (oppose turning in) excessively. 

Wing uses winglets as well as micro vortex generators for expanding efficiency (converts a part of the induced drag into thrust), speed range and improving tracking at very high cruise speeds. 

It uses a cross span band of re-inforced PX mylar fabric to control washout at load and speed and also a re-inforced dacron and mylar trailing edge. The control frame is tall giving extra leverage to the pilot which means less control force. Leading edge is PX or mylar with extra re-inforcement at the root for clean leading edge at the root.

Whether you want a 2.5 second 60 degree bank to 60 degree bank or a 65 mph leisure flight at 2.5 gallons per hour or a 98 mph cross country flight eating those miles up quickly, Delta Jet-II with Cheval 12 wing delivers.

This wing will be available to existing Apollo 912 or 912ULS powered trikes for upgrade if the customers wish with full documentation and records to keep their S-LSA status. 

The aircraft is powered by Rotax 912ULS 100 HP engine. An engine with a ton of reliable history behind it and a standard in light sport aircraft. We have so far avoided the complexity of Rotax 912iS which though fuel injected new version of 912ULS is still in development and not matured yet. Besides its heavier, relies on batteries and more expensive. Once 912iS matures and Rotax settles on its final design, we expect to offer 912iS engine as well. Right now the fuel savings gained from 912iS alone are not justifiable by its extra cost, extra weight and complexity. The gain in fuel efficiency in 912iS is balanced by its extra installation weight because you can carry that extra fuel with 912ULS.

Through load and flight testing the gross weight is selected to be 1125 pounds. Maximum empty weight with all options including BRS (Ballistic Recovery System whole aircraft parachute, pull a handle and a rocket fires a parachute that brings the whole aircraft down slowly and safely) is 583 pounds. This gives a minimum useful load 542 pounds which is almost the empty weight of the trike without BRS. So in effect the aircraft can carry its own weight.

PERFORMANCE: (at ISA sea level unless otherwise noted)
Speed Range: 42 - 115 mph, Cruise: 55 - 95 mph (at 3000 feet)
Glide Ratio: 10:1 @ 51 mph
Climb Rate : 1350 feet/min (one up), 1050 feet/min at gross weight
Ground Roll: 300 feet
Take-off to clear 50 foot obstacle (tarmac): 750 feet
Stall at gross weight: 42 mph
Stall at 825 pounds (one - up): 36 mph
Approach speed recommended: 60 - 65 mph

Jun 14th

Delta Jet-II S-LSA

By Abid Farooqui
Jun 2nd

Measuring take-off roll at standard conditions

By Abid Farooqui
International Standard Atmospheric conditions rarely ever exist for long in any part of the country, yet all the performance data for aviation and pilot operating handbooks is required to be given at ISA conditions.

One such measurement is take-off roll or distance it takes to break ground by the aircraft at or near gross weight.

I talked about the importance of airspeed calibration before and I stated that airspeed calibration chart is about the first thing to develop carefully because almost all the rest of the testing depends on it. If your calibration is off, pretty much everything else will be off as well. This distance measurement is no different and we will soon see why.

Generally it is assumed that it is safe to break ground at 1.2 times Vs0. Vso being the stall speed (calibrated). As it turned out, we have a handy dandy formula to get a pretty close stall speed number for any weight once we know it at one weight (within reason).  This formula is:

Vs2 = Vs1 √ W2/W1 

Vs2 = stall speed at weight W2, to be determined
Vs1 = stall speed at weight W1, known or measured

So my calibrated stall speed at 786 pounds was measured to be 35 mph with a very mild stall break.
Using this formula at a gross weight of 1100 pounds we get
Vs2 = 35 √ 1100/786
Vs2 =  41.4 MPH

So 1.2 x Vso = 1.2 x 41.4 = 50 MPH
This would be considered my TOSS (Take-Off Safety Speed)

Regardless of if I am a good enough pilot to break ground at this speed or not, the fact is that I can safely break ground at this speed. In fact the aircraft can fly just above stall speed but this leeway is taken for average pilot technique and safety due to weather variances.

So now that we have the speed, I just need to measure how long does it take in distance (or time) to go from 0 mph to 50 mph)?

Of course this should be measured on the ground run in very calm no wind conditions if at all possible.

There are as expected a few different acceptable methods of doing that. One is a grid photographic camera method, stopwatch with lap function method and recording voice for markers.

Since most of us do not have specialized equipment but we do have runway lights that are generally 200 feet apart (acting as markers, and Large white balloons can fill the 100 foot marker gaps) and our handy dandy smart phones with voice recording functions and usually an intercom with audio-out, this is the method that seems most practical.

Markers are set every 100 feet. Recording device is turned on. Pilot and co-pilot are seated in the aircraft. Aircraft comes to first marker, holds brakes and goes to full power, keeping wings level and neutral so as to give lowest frontal area to the relative wind to decrease drag. Pilot releases brakes and aircraft accelerates forward. Co-pilot records short abrupt and clear "GO" in the voice recording device. Aircraft passes second market at 100 feet, "One" is recorded, aircraft passes 200 feet or second marker, "Two" is recorded and so on.
Now make a graph of TIME (x-axis) and DISTANCE (y-axis on right hand side) and VELOCITY (y-axis on left hand side). Since average velocity is simply
Vavg =  delta d / delta t


If distance is measured in feet and time in seconds (from the recording), then this speed is in feet/sec, so we have to multiply by 1.467 to get it in MPH
Vavg (mph) = delta d / delta t (1.467).

Each marker set, can give us an average velocity for that set. For example between 0 to 100 feet (100 feet was our marker distance), there is an average velocity, 100 to 200 feet we have another average velocity and so on. Using this average velocity calculation per set, plot a velocity graph which usually comes out to be a smooth curve.


Now locate the average velocity of 50 mph (1.2 x Vso) on this curve. BUT this value must be TAS (True Air Speed). So take the indicated stall speed (IAS), correct it to Calibrated Airspeed (CAS) which in my case is within 0.5 mph and then correct that on your E6B to the TAS needed.  

Now that you know the TAS of your ISA 1.2 x Vso you can use your chart constructed (Distance, Time, Velocity) ... enter it at velocity, move down to distance and that is your take-off distance.

But that is your take-off distance at that non-standard atmosphere which can be off quite a bit from standard conditions. What to do now?
One Word: "Denalt Computer" by FAA.
A better usable version of Koch chart and almost a must for test pilots.