Explorer Aeronautique President Bernard LaFerriere Confirmed As
Sole Person On Board
Just a few days ago, ANN's Juan Jimenez was writing about an
intriguing LSA design called the Ecoflyer for Aero-News readers the
world over... and now we regret to say that the pilot and the
aircraft that was featured is no more.
Police reports have confirmed that Explorer Aeronautique
President Bernard LaFerriere, 56, of Quebec, Canada, perished when
his Ecoflyer G-IOFL went down in New York, near the Lt. William
Eaton Airport. Imagery from the heavily wooded impact site show
that the crash [State Police accident photo below] was a
devastating one, with no significant aspect of the airframe
LaFerriere was on his way back from the Lakeland Fly-In and had
stopped in Norwich, New York, enroute to Quebec's Trois-Rivieres
airport -- its home base. NY State Troopers report that the
aircraft departed the airport about 1630, local time Monday, and
that an alert was sent out when he was discovered to be overdue.
The wreckage was not located until Tuesday afternoon. LaFerriere
appears to have perished on impact.
Prior to departure from Norwich, airport staffers report that
LaFerriere refueled his aircraft and waited a considerable time on
the ground for winds to stabilize before departing.
LaFerriere's company is the manufacturer of both the Ecoflyer...
a rather rotund aircraft designed to maximize the internal space
available in an LSA conversant design, as well as a the
considerably larger Private Explorer... something of an aerial
Winnebago. Based out of Quebec, Canada, Explorer Aeronautique Inc.
has designed what is a very interesting LSA made entirely out of
composite materials, powered by a Jabiru 3300 and pushed along by a
Sensenich two-blade prop. Estimated time for construction is 200
hours for the basic airframe, but since the kit comes without
engine, prop, interior and instrumentation, the actual completion
time is estimated at some 700 hours.
The company has delivered nine ELSA kits, priced at US$35,000.
All nine of the kits are completed and flying. The company had
planned to start shipping factory-completed LSA's in about twelve
The specs are certainly respectable; top speed of 138 mph,
cruise at 75% power and 8,000 feet of 135 mph, dropping to 125 mph
at 55% power. The aircraft stalls at 44 mph, takes off in 400 feet
and lands in 700 feet.
Initial rate of climb is 1100 feet/min, and range in zero-wind
conditions starts at 750 miles at 55% power and is reduced to 650
miles at 75% power. Exterior measurements are 32 feet wingspan, 22
feet long and 86 inches in height. But it is the interior
measurements that raise eyebrows -- the cabin is a whopping 54
inches wide, 53 inches high and 13 feet long.