April 1, 2014
By Thomas A. Horne
The ultra-sleek, ultra high-tech Rotax-powered Stemme S-10 is back on display at the 2014 Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Fla., but that’s not the company’s big news. Under newly named President Mark Stevenson, Stemme has established Stemme USA, Inc. From now on, Stemme will sell its motorgliders factory-direct to North American customers in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
“Stemme has been quiet for the past few years,” Stevenson said at a Sun 'n Fun press conference April 1. “But we hope to generate more interest under the new organization.”
In the past, Stemme has suffered from a “vague” sense of support in the maintenance and service areas, said Lorenzo Costella, Stemme’s head of sales and marketing. Costella hopes to correct this deficiency by setting up a network of service centers capable of supporting the exotic, $440,000 German-built motorglider.
Stemme USA is based at South Carolina's Columbia Metropolitan Airport. The factory remains at its location at the Strausberg, Germany airport, east of Berlin.
“The Stemme is a 20-year-old design, but it can do things no other airplane can,” said Stevenson. One of the most recent Stemme accomplishments was a 3-D mapping of Mount Everest. For a week, a Stemme S-10 piloted by Klaus Ohlmann circled the Everest area.
Another new endeavor is being conducted by glider aerobatic pilot Luca Bertossia, who plans to use the S-10 to perform a flight demonstration in front of crowds at this year’s EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wis. “The S-10 has the wingspan of a DC-3, but it’s a lot more maneuverable than you might think,” Bertossia said.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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