February 1, 2010
By Jill W. Tallman
It’s never a good idea to try to start an airplane engine without warming it first when temperatures dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit—and many pilots don’t wait for it to get that cold. The aim is to warm up the oil as well as the moving parts so that they’re not stressed.
Tanis Aircraft Products in Glenwood, Minnesota, knows all about cold weather (it does get a little chilly in Minnesota). The company has designed and manufactured engine heaters for piston, diesel, turboprop, and some jet aircraft since company founder Pete Tanis patented the very first piston engine preheat system in 1973. All components are made in the United States.
Tanis recently unveiled a preheater for the Rotax 912/914 series, and has provided one for the 2010 Fun to Fly Remos. The Rotax Owner Assistance Network gives the preheater five stars in a video that you can view online. Company President Bob Krueger says it’s a straightforward installation that can be done in a few hours; one electric heating pad has to be bonded on and left to set overnight. The system applies heat to the cylinder heads, crankcase, and oil container, among other locations.
For more information on Tanis Aircraft Products, visit the Web site or call 320-634-4772 or 800-443-2136. —JWT
Cessna, Cirrus, Piper, Waco. High-wing, low-wing, V-tail; one engine, two engines. The variety of aircraft that have starred in AOPA’s sweepstakes reflects the spectrum of general aviation itself.
This year’s airplane is yet another standout. For your 2010 Fun to Fly Sweepstakes prize, AOPA has chosen our first-ever light sport aircraft (LSA). What’s more, we’re giving away a brand-new airplane that represents the best of what this burgeoning new segment of GA has to offer: fun and utility in one smartly designed package.
Flying the Remos home from AOPA Summit in November, I got to experience all this and more. Over the course of two days, the aircraft carried me 739 nm in comfort while burning less avgas than a traditional piston single.
Tampa, Florida’s Peter O. Knight Airport was a nonstop stream of departing aircraft on that Sunday after AOPA Summit. Families that had missed the AirportFest activities were sitting in parked cars along the road to the airport watching a procession zigzag on takeoff, thanks to a 10-knot wind directly across Runway 3.
When it was our turn to launch, enjoyment turned to trepidation. How would our 1,320-pound Remos GX do against a wind that had blown much heavier airplanes off the centerline?
I needn’t have worried. Remos demo pilot Korby Paulsen lowered the wing and applied a judicious amount of rudder, and we were off on the first leg of our flight to bring your 2010 Fun to Fly Remos to Frederick, Maryland. The airplane had just 14 hours on the tachometer when we received it at Summit.
With headwinds that at times reached 30 knots, our progress up the East Coast ranged from respectable to, well, less so. From Tampa to Savannah, Georgia, the Rotax 912 UL and Neuform three-blade ground-adjustable propeller put out true airspeeds of 115 to 120 knots and groundspeeds of 100 to 105 knots. That dropped to 93 to 95 knots during the second leg to Raleigh, North Carolina. Throughout the trip the engine burned about 6 gallons per hour—but only because we were running at 5,400 rpm against the headwinds. Had we dialed back to a more moderate cruise setting, we would easily have cut our fuel consumption to four or five gallons per hour. The airplane’s fuel capacity is 22 gallons, of which 21 are usable.
A six-hour trip with a big old headwind gives you plenty of time to get to know an airplane, particularly when you can switch on the Dynon autopilot and explore the capabilities of the two Dynon seven-inch displays while your right-seater keeps an eye out for traffic. (The Remos eventually will be capable of displaying traffic and receiving weather advisories through the XM receiver.)
The Fun to Fly Remos is outfitted with the Aviator II package: Dynon’s EFIS-D100 primary flight display and EMS-D10 multifunction display are linked to a Garmin GPSMap 496 mounted in an AirGizmo dock in the center of the console, with backup mechanical airspeed and vertical speed indicators installed in front of the right seat. The circuit breakers appear in a single row along the bottom of the panel’s right side. To the far right, in a neat vertical array, are a 12-volt power outlet for a portable GPS, two audio-in connectors, and a USB port.
Directly under the 496 are a Garmin SL40 communications transceiver, SL30 nav/com, and TIS traffic transponder. Beneath the communication equipment on the main quadrant is a control panel with flap lever (0 to 40 degrees), lights, fuel pump, autopilot, trim position indicator, and master, ignition, and avionics switches.
The center console between the two seats includes the choke, carburetor heat, right-hand throttle, cabin heat and air controls, the fuel valve, the hand-brake lever with a fluid reservoir, and the parking brake. (Yes, just like most LSAs made in Europe, your Remos has a hand brake—but that will change with the installation of toe brakes.) Everything is within easy reach, even when the four-point harnesses are buckled (an airbag system will be installed this summer). And you have your choice of two throttle controls, one to the left of the pilot’s seat and one located on the center console.
High above Tampa—9,500 feet above Tampa, to be exact—the view outside the Remos GX’s cockpit is amazing. It is, in fact, difficult to pull your eyes from outside long enough to check engine functions on the EMS-D10. The functionality of this panel will impress you, just as it did the people who climbed into the airplane at Summit. We’ll talk about the Dynon system and the company that is making waves among the experimental and light sport markets at greater length in an upcoming article.
Six hours is a long time to spend in an airplane, even with a fuel stop to break up the trip. The Remos’ leather seats made the trip more comfortable. Did I mention these are removable, ergonomic, and adjustable to three positions?
The main baggage compartment is located behind the left seat and holds up to 30 pounds. Paulsen stowed a sizable duffle bag in that space. The airplane’s doors have zippered chart pockets, and there are two small compartments on a hat shelf above the seats. Paulsen showed me how you can squirrel a bottle of water under the pilot seat and it stays right where you put it.
Our first day on the road ended at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), where the light emitting diode (LED) landing lights illuminated our path to a parking spot next to a King Air. Rather than press on until the wee hours of the morning while fighting headwinds that wouldn’t let up, we opted to overnight at RDU and finish the trip in the morning. (Night flying requires a private pilot certificate, currency, and the airplane must be equipped—our Remos is.)
“What type of aircraft is this?”
“What’s a REE-MO?”
These were typical of the curious, friendly questions we got from the air traffic controllers who shepherded N131GX (soon to be N210FN) up the East Coast. The exception was the ground controller at RDU, who not only pronounced the name correctly but rolled his Rs with an exotic flourish. Paulsen, who has logged about 300 hours in LSAs (including 200 in the Remos), said he’s used to that kind of reception.
It can be hard to keep track of who’s who in the LSA market, where new players are emerging all the time. But Remos has carved out a sizable market share since its arrival in the U.S. market. It is the number-four LSA manufacturer in the United States, according to figures compiled by Dan Johnson of ByDan Johnson.com. The company’s factory is located in Pasewalk, Germany, and aircraft are shipped to a U.S. subsidiary, Remos Aircraft, in Rogers, Arkansas, where the wings and horizontal stabilizer are attached and options installed before test flights are conducted.
The U.S. subsidiary is an important part of Remos’ corporate strategy, according to Michael Meirer, chief executive officer of Remos Aircraft Inc. Many European manufacturers utilize distributors that are not officially part of the company but receive a percentage of each sale. “For us it’s different. I’m an employee of Remos Aircraft, and so are eight other people here at this company,” he said. This shows business partners, dealers, and customers that “we are serious about fulfilling all their needs, service requirements, and being here directly if they have a problem,” he said. Sales are conducted through a network of dealers; additionally, the company has launched a series of Remos Pilot Centers throughout the nation that offer flight training and aircraft rental.
Remos began exporting the G-3 600 in 2006 (see “ Light Sport: He’s the Candy Bomber,” June 2008 AOPA Pilot) and introduced the GX in 2009. The new version features an all-carbon-fiber wing and metal landing gear, the ergonomic seats, and additional avionics options.
The Remos’ roomy design is a pleasant surprise to those who think the airplane “looks small.” A 46.8-inch cockpit is accessible through the two 42.5-inch doors that swing upward. You may have to fold and unfold yourself to climb into the airplane from the front, but once you’re in there’s plenty of headroom. Each door comes off, by the way, simply by removing a pin; you can fly without them.
Carrying two adults, the airplane rotates at 30 knots and climbs at 900 to 1,000 feet per minute. AOPA’s Director of eMedia Alyssa J. Miller described the sensation when the tires leave the pavement as “levitating.”
Control forces are sensitive, and you don’t need much in the way of input at all. During slow flight, expect just a little sloppiness of the controls at that speed. Stalls are straightforward; the airplane barely buffets before the nose drops.
Coming back to the airport, enter the pattern with engine power set at 4,000 rpm and add 15 degrees of flaps abeam the numbers once the airspeed indicator is in the white arc. Trim for 65 knots—a number that also works for best rate of climb. Adding full flaps on final gives you a rather sharp nose-down sight picture; be sure to maintain it and keep the airspeed at 65 knots. Keep power in almost to touchdown, be judicious with the rudder, and the Remos will alight with grace.
Next month we’ll introduce you to Michael Combs, a new sport pilot who is flying to all 50 states in a Remos GX—talk about a long cross-country! In future issues we’ll discuss the airplane’s folding wings, the Dynon MFDs, and the airplane’s ballistic parachute recovery system.
Base Price: $123,900 Price as tested: $144,900*
Rotax 912 ULS 100 hp at 2,750 rpm
For more information, contact Remos Aircraft Inc., 849 Almar Avenue, Ste C-524, Santa Cruz, California 95060; telephone: 1-877-REMOS-88; www.remos.com.
All specifications are based on manufacturer’s calculations. All performance figures are based on standard day, standard atmosphere, sea level, gross weight conditions unless otherwise noted.
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