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  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 4 months ago
    Product review of the new M3 From airborne with XR-S. I normally wouldn't review my competitors products, but i only have good to say...

    At first glance the Airborne fit and finish is all there plus the wing sail has gone to the next level in my opinion. The beefy new keel tube in the carriage stood out with what appears to be a larger diameter extrusion. This was a weak link on the XTs for anyone that has had a hard landing. Next obvious improvement were the massive wheel spats and one piece tall wind screen. The addition of winglets on the wing were probably more obvious than the offset thrust line. This combination makes this trike fly absolutely straight through the air which is something I cannot say the 912 XTs were ever capable of, which only got worse with the introduction of their smaller strut braced wings.

    Getting in, I noticed the seats are completely redesigned with a higher back seat which is very flat bottomed and supportive unlike the rear seat on the XT. The front seat was very nice, but I have to admit I did like he back rest actually better on the old XT, but now I'm nit picking. The addition of a pullout step to get in the back seat was the coolest and super functional improvement for getting in the back seat. The 8.5" color EFIS has almost become the standard among other flagship models from other manufacturers so it was nice to see it there. The mutually shared mags have been updated to a single kill button both for the front seat located on the dash and for the back seat occupant more in reach towards the rear of the trike. This is a serious safety feature in itself.

    So I strap into the front seat with Mike Hamm in the back. As the trike lifts off it is noticeably short for not being a huge wing. And as I lift off there is no kick, no torque , no P factor to fight. It is dialed in like a REVO or Apollo which also use offset thrust lines. WELCOME TO THE CLUB AIRBORNE!!!

    Back in 2012 I was able to upset their Arrow wing on the first try putting into an intentional slipping turn where I felt transition training better be part of the owners purchase. The New XR-S is goof proof. I couldn't even agitate the wing a little. I threw the kitchen sink at it doing every wrong thing humanly possible and nothing. Perfectly coordinated turns no matter what. Their strut braced wing has gone from the bottom of my list to very high up the "good wings list". It's no sports car, but the controls are soft if you maneuver slowly with it and it's pretty fast. I saw nearly 80 kts Indicated hands off. Now the trim system does relatively little for cruise trim. Lucky to see 10 mph difference or so, and in that department they are lacking... however, this wings SLOWS DOWN! I touched down 2 up indicating 33KTs. Wow. The Arrow wings have always flared nice, but this wing goes and goes and goes... if any of you have flown a P+M GT 450, I found the handling and performance to be very similar to that wing.

    All in all the machine of 20 years has been "fixed" all of my own personal complaints I have with the XT have been addressed if they beefed up the rear axles, which I don't know the answer to that yet.

    My only criticism would be that the front seat back rest angle is very straight up for the passenger to have leg room and the shape of the seat back when "reclined" to what I consider a normal flying position pintched my theighs in the back seat. As previously mentioned a V shaped backrest like they had previously might work better. Next I felt the wind protection could be way improved with an even larger wind screen which Rob from Airborne was quite receptive to since it's a super easy option for them to offer and their new carriage can definitely handle the larger windscreen with no adverse effects in my opinion. And lastly the roll rate was a bit slow even for a docile wing, but not terribly slow and much, MUCH better in every way than its predecessors.

    So to recap my very minor gripe list: the pilot seat back was a bit straight up with just a touch of wind on me and it was sporty but not super sporty to fly and I couldn't slow fly it hands off.

    On the up side all the things that made the 912XT such a popular trike for some 20 years now are all there and all of my old complaint list really have been addressed on the new model. This new M3 Sport is a nice comfortable well behaved trike with great fit and finish and a really amazing flare with surprising energy retention that anyone can fly with ease. Did I mention it flies perfectly straight? I guess I did but it's worth mentioning twice. ;-)

    For those that love their Airborne's, this machine is enough reason to upgrade in my opinion. It's awesome to see things evolve to where everything is just as it should be. Possibly one of the best all around trikes out there with its big tires, fast wing with short takeoff and landing ability.

    So that's my honest opinion. Take it for what it's worth, I have pretty much flown them all....
  • Rizwan Bukhari
    by Rizwan Bukhari 4 months ago
    Thanks Larry, I admire your review for your competitor. Very nicely written. I don't have M3 but I bought an Airborne XT 912 a few months ago and I love it.
  • Scott Williams
    by Scott Williams 4 months ago
    Great review Larry and thanks for your time spent. Wing stability and ease of control is number 1 on my list of must haves. Also why I'm eyeing your new X wing so intently. Very good to hear other companies have tamed some of their old designs to safer control characteristics.
  • Larry  Mednick
    by Larry Mednick 4 months ago
    Also Airborne is either doing retrofits for the Arrow and SST wings now to add the winglets or they will have a kit in the future to ship out to the customer. It is not a mandatory change, but I would strongly recommend EVERYONE with the old versions of the wing upgrade unless you are really sure you know your stuff.
  • monty stone
    by monty stone 4 months ago
    incredibly honest review larry! that old greek guy, die-on-yer-nees, with a lantern long quest looking for an honest man has finally been fullfilled! (it's a bit like a wife giving a gentle oppinion of a girlfriends dress!). my spellchecker kept insisting i wanted genital, not gentle! even robots have a sense of humor!
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