May 29, 2013
By Alton K. Marsh
ASTM approval is expected in August for the single-seat $54,850 Skycraft Airplanes SD-1 Minisport light sport aircraft. Orders will be taken at EAA AirVenture this summer. An official of the company said the Czech-designed aircraft flies much like a two-seat Van’s RV-6 aircraft. That aircraft is used by one company official as a trainer for the single-seat SD-1. It will be offered in both a tailwheel and nosewheel configuration.
The company has offered the airplane as a kit for the past year. The price includes everything except a Mode S transponder and a ballistic parachute. The photos with this article are of SD-1 aircraft flown in other countries, since there are no photos as yet of the company’s test aircraft.
The F-23 Hirth two-cycle engine was designed from the start for aircraft use by Göbler-Hirthmotoren KG of Germany, and distributed in the United States by Recreational Power Engineering in Tiffin, Ohio. The air-cooled two-cylinder engine turns at 6,150 rpm to generate 50 horsepower. The company made large aircraft engines in the 1930s and 1940s, but had to stop making aircraft engines with Germany’s defeat in World War II. Up to 1974 the company made snowmobile engines. It revived its aircraft engine work with the growth of the ultralight industry in the 1980s.
The SD-1 is claimed to have a 118 mph cruise speed, a 1,400 fpm climb rate, a 39 mph stall speed, and five hours of endurance. Operational costs are claimed to be $12 an hour including fuel, oil, and engine overhaul. The engine has a 1,000-hour time between overhaul. The wings are removable.
The aircraft comes standard with a Dynon glass panel and radio, a digital instrument panel, fuel and power management systems, an emergency locator transmitter, and navigation and landing lights.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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