Airborne's NEW T Light 103

Published by: Larry Mednick on 4th Apr 2011 | View all blogs by Larry Mednick
I am pleased to anounce that not only did I get to look over the new Airborne nano light at this years Sun N Fun, but I got to fly it!  

The construction, fit and finish is what you come to find with Airborne's larger trikes. Even the cam lock mast block concept found on the Big 912 XT was  present. The seat frame and keel were very original and well executed. What I was so impressed with was the overall simple, yet smart design of the carriage. The  padded, fiberglass, contoured seat for example was possibly the BEST seat on any trike in todays market. It wrapped around my body and felt really nice and gave me an extremely secure feeling compared to some other nano lights I have flown where the seatbelt is what keeps you from falling out to the side of the seat. The saddle bag skirts really cleaned up the trike aerodynamically. The Motor mount was a firewall style install like a Tanarg, for example, which used the least amount of material with the cleanest engine install.  Even the fuel pump was integrated into the frame which left nothing hanging off or bolted on as an after thought. This design wasnt thought of overnight, it is clear some real work went into making the T Light's extremely refined, non traditional, yet simple design. 

The engine itself was a 22 HP Bailey with electric start and was extremely compact and clean looking as well. It ran with a little thump to it being a single piston, but very smooth in general. Climb was pretty good, I weigh 200 pounds and was off and climbing in no time. I dont think it will keep up with some of the AC racers or sky cycles using Rotax 447s or anything like that, but i was up to several hundred feet within a couple of minutes regardless.

The wing is actually one of their existing, popular hang glider wings. It was around 15 meters and all PX upper surface. The handing was very solid, the pitch was very nice and the roll was very soft in the middle with a hair more resistance than I would have expected when I really cranked a hard turn. the roll was very light compared to most LSA trikes,  just not as light as some other nano light wings I have flown. When turning there is a bit of adverse yaw until you push out and then the nose really swings into the turn with a very tight radius  which would be great for catching thermals. All and all the wing is really solid and flew well.  

I did find a few things that I would have preferred different based on my own personal taste. first was the control bar height was about 4-6 higher than I prefer, If you like the height of the XT's bar, this was quite similar. And second there was a lot of rake in the forks which has benefits, but those do not include moving it around on the ground without holding on to the forks. The front wheel wants to constantly be all the way to the right or the left. Taxiing with the high rake angle was not an issue nor take off or landing. Lastly the wing had a king post and we had to actually fold the mast down to get it into the same hanger the big REVO easily rolled into first with plenty of clearance.

All and all this is a true soaring trike, I would think it will compete head to head with the Dragon Fly. The fit and finish of this product is stellar  and the design is very clean and well though out. As a package it is a perfectly balanced flying machine. If you want to soar and want the same quality and attention to detail you see when you look at a $60,000+ XT, your trike has arrived! 

Larry Mednick

Comments

4 Comments

  • Michael Adams
    by Michael Adams 6 years ago
    Great, thanks Larry.
  • Gregg Ludwig
    by Gregg Ludwig 6 years ago
    I too witnessed the T-light fly. I looked really cool. I saw it buzzing around the Wallaby HG flight park the week before sun n fun piloted by Russell Duncan. I thought he may have been having engine problems because it kept quitting, resulting in dead stick landings, but on rollout he would just start it up with electric start and taxi in. Nice looking trike. Good report from Larry.
    Gregg
  • Joe Hockman
    by Joe Hockman 6 years ago
    Thanks for the report Larry. Looked like you were having fun testing its performance and response there at S. Lakeland. Good point about the front forks. No bungees or steering dampener that I saw and that combined with rake would make it a bit challenging to move around on ground w/o holding on to pegs. From my observation, design and finish overall was top notch. thx again and best regards ...Joe
  • Rizwan Bukhari
    by Rizwan Bukhari 6 years ago
    Very informative, thanks Larry. Now that is a nice, unbaised report right there.
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