Tue, Jul 24, 2012
A New Engine And Design Improvements Take The Decathlon Acro-Trainer To A New Level
By Anthony Liberatore
Monday morning at EAA's AirVenture, Jerry Melhaff Jr., vice president of engineering for American Champion Aircraft, officially unveiled the Xtreme Decathlon to the Oshkosh press corps. Melhaff said the effort is designed to take their popular Decathlon aircraft to the next level, and the firewall forward work dovetails well with work Champion Aircraft had previously done on their Denali Scout. However, a first for Champion Aircraft is the incorporation of a Dynafocal engine mount for the Lycoming AEIO-390-A1B6 that has an output of 210hp, thirty more horsepower than any previous Decathlon.
The desire to "kick it up a notch," as Jerry said, did not stop there. A 4-into-1 un-muffled exhaust and a 76-inch MT-Hoffman Composite Propeller combined with a light weight starter rounds out the business end of the Xtreme. To facilitate the larger diameter propeller, taller aluminum landing gear legs were used. To counteract the additional weight on the nose, Champion's heavier airfoil-shaped horizontal tail surfaces was utilized, as well as increasing its area by 10 percent. Melhaff said a weight reduction program has netted a total weight reduction in the 30 pound range despite the firewall packages initially increasing the empty weight by 39 pounds.
Composite materials applied to the floorboards and ailerons have netted an additional weight reduction of as much as 17 pounds. Aerodynamic improvements were also added to the mix with clipped wing tips, and boosted ailerons which combined contribute to an 33 percent increase in roll rate over the current Decathlon. Jody Bradt, the Xtreme's test pilot, noted that the target date for certification of the Xtreme is October 2012.
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