Wed, Jun 08, 2011
To anyone who has known me for any length of time... at least
long enough to have THE conversation about what constitutes our
favorite airplanes, there is little doubt about my love for the
AirCam... an amazing twin-engine sport aircraft with nary a
bad-tempered bone in its body and a bag of tricks that never seems
to run dry.
The Air-Cam is a unique, twin-engine, light aircraft, with
impressive STOL capabilities (and even more impressive manners)
that include the ability to fly into short, unimproved airstrips or
operated safely over the most challenging terrain on the globe.
Two decades ago the National Geographic Society commissioned the
design and construction of the AirCam, and the serial #1 was
shipped to the Congo and flown for National Geographic by Phil
In the 200 HP (Rotax 912S) version, the AirCam boasts some
impressive stats. It has a gross weight of 1680 lbs, an empty
weight of 1040 lbs, and a stall speed of 39 mph. It has a wide
cruise range... from 50 mph to a bit over 100 mph, as well as a Vne
of 110 mph. The rate of climb is 1500 fpm, while 2000 fpm is
possible for lighter solo operations.
The single engine ROC is a solid (and VERY well-behaved) 300
fpm. On a 28 gallon tank, the AirCam has a range of 340 miles (at
70 mph), though the long range endurance mode offers flights as
long as 6 hours. Takeoffs require less than 200 feet and landings
can be done in as little 300 feet. Overall, though, the most
amazing thing about the AirCam is the truly inspired handling
qualities boasted by this aircraft... even in single-engine mode.
It's easily one of the best handling airplanes currently on the
BUT... it is not a cold-weather airplane... unless you bundle
up... so the news of a full enclosure, easily retrofittable to the
AirCam fleet is BIG news... follow along and see what we mean.
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