Companies Sign Tentative OEM Agreement
Sadler Aircraft Company recently told potential customers a
tentative OEM arrangement has been reached with RotaMax Engines to
provide an optional 130-hp, Wankel-type twin-rotor powerplant for
its upcoming Vampire light sport aircraft.
As ANN reported, the
mid-wing, twin tailboom pusher-powered Vampire is based on Bill
Sadler's single-seat ultralight design. Around 30 were built in the
United States in the 1980s, and the design was also licensed to an
Australian Company. Both US and Aussie companies eventually
Fifteen years passed before Sadler unveiled a beefed-up version
to serve as an attack and surveillance plane for the Turkish
military. Dubbed the Piranha, the plane carried a 30mm cannon, with
two hardpoints available to mount up to 1000 pounds of rockets or
small bombs. Power was from a 450-horsepower engine, and the plane
had retractable gear; it was dropped by the Turkish armed forces in
the interest of F-16s.
The Vampire LSA is a heavily- (or lightly-, as it were) modified
version of the Piranha. By lengthening the wing, welding the gear
in the down position, making some minor changes to the cockpit pod,
and scaling WAAAAY back on the power, Sadler was able to bring the
Piranha into LSA compliance.
Sadler showed a mockup of the plane at AirVenture 2007. A
100-horsepower Rotax 912S will be the standard
In addition to offering a Made-In-The-USA engine choice to
customers, the company notes the RotaMax should also offer greater
climb rates, and shorter runway requirements for takeoff.
"Top speed will remain at 138 mph to meet LSA requirements," the
company tells ANN. "And we still hope to keep the base price of the
Vampire below $85,000."
The company plans to start flight testing of a RotaMax-equipped
Vampire by the first week in November, in anticipation of
production starting in 2008. Stay tuned.