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Mon, Jul 28, 2014

There's A New Light Sport Amphib Coming To The Block

MVP Aero Introduces What It Calls The Worlds 'Most Versatile Plane'

A new sport plane that is designed to operate from runways, water, and snow and ice was introduced Sunday afternoon on the day before the AirVenture at Oshkosh officially opened.

The MVP is being billed by the company as "the world's Most Versatile Plane," and it is aimed at the market niche that ICON Aircraft has been talking about for years. This new class of "all-season airplanes will be the ideal sport plane for people who love the outdoors and want to “get out there” and enjoy it," the company says.
MVP aircraft will also be designed to be as safe, as reliable, and as simple to fly and maintain as possible. With an eye towards toughness in just the right places, the MVP will absorb the rougher treatment often experienced when taking on a "Big Adventure."

While these attributes are exciting, says the most significant and "game-changing" quality is that it will do more than simply fly from one place to another. It will also support and play an active role in many great outdoor activities including camping, fishing, hunting, exploring, relaxing and more.

The company says tremendous focus has been placed on creating a great flying versatile sport plane that can do more than simply fly. They say it is just as important that the MVP be attractive, super-fun to pilot, have great visibility, and be extremely comfortable for the longest of trips.

MVP was founded in 2012 by father and son team Darrell and Michael Lynds, and best friend Steve Pugh, who together felt that pilots should expect more utility and versatility from an LSA aircraft than was currently available. Pooling ideas drawn from their own building and flying experiences, and their individual backgrounds, a feasibility study got underway. The project took a big step forward when Mike Van Staagen (Cirrus and Sikorsky) took a look at the study and several initial concepts, concluding that while lofty, their goals for the airplane were possible to achieve. Mike was so excited by the potential that he joined the founding team and has taken the design on from there. Mike has said that the MVP will be his most exciting project yet and given that his last project for Cirrus was creating and leading the design for the Vision Jet, indicates the degree of excitement we all have around the MVP.

In the summer of 2013 the company produced and flew a 30% scaled model and successfully studied key behavioral traits of this exciting configuration. All of this activity has been funded by private investment. The founding team holds an 85% ownership of the company.

MVP.Aero has carefully chosen strategic partnerships with existing leaders in the industry to manufacture, deliver and service the aircraft. On the US West Coast - Glasair Aviation of Arlington, Washington and on the US East Coast, Fibercraft Inc. of Spruce Creek, Florida. Both companies have solid business reputations and decades long track records of producing high quality aviation products. This initial capacity combined will be capable of producing up to 8 MVP aircraft per month.

Other manufacturing capacity, specifically for other continents and larger volumes will be brought on as the program develops and the market size is aptly demonstrated. As an excellent example, we are pleased to announce Hanxing Aviation of China as our Manufacturer and Distributor of the MVP for the Asian market. Hanxing has been a leader in introducing general aviation to China for many years representing fine companies such as Cirrus, Glasair, Van's and Enstrom Helicopters.

The MVP’s most compelling feature is that it transforms into a versatile floating platform. The canopy moves upwards and back on a 4-bar link to sit atop the engine pylon. This frees up the nose of the MVP to resemble the front of a classic bass-type fishing boat. With the canopy open, the MVP’s engine can be run so as to continue to shore or dock, or to motor along to the next cove or fishing spot.

Flanking both sides of the MVP are nose to tail catwalks that enable movement all over the MVP for on the water preflight of the engine, inspection of the tail and the wing’s aft mounted control surfaces. Or, one can simply access the aft fuselage to deploy and relax in a fitted hammock that stretches between the engine pylon and the tail.

The Instrument panel is a self-contained pod that pivots up and out of the way, not only to help protect it from dripping swim suits and flip flops, but also to provide a way to create a larger flat deck. Four hinged folding panels (called the origami deck) stow atop the forward deck under the canopy and are able to be deployed in two halves to fully cover the seats of the cockpit, enabling a completely flat floor from the bow to the back of the baggage compartment. This floor is level whether floating on the water, or parked on level ground.  This amazingly big surface on a relatively little airplane is just large enough for two people to stretch out and sleep. Deploying a fitted tent and inflating a fitted air mattress makes spending the night a delight.

The company currently plans for the MVP to first be offered as an Experimental Amateur Built Kit (E-AB), then as an Experimental Light Sport Aircraft (ELSA) and finally as a fully produced Special Light Sport Aircraft (SLSA). Roughly 3, 4 & 5 years respectively.  And finally, many of the necessary attributes required to certify the design to FAA Part 23 standards will be seamlessly folded into the baseline design in anticipation that this market segment will soon become viable.

The airplane will start at about $189,000.

Design Engineer Mike Van Staagen said that while the airplane will be expensive, the concept is that the owner will get a lot more use out of it, increasing what he calls the "value coefficient." Using the airplane more drives down the cost-per-hour, and that increases the value of the airplane to its owners.

Darrell Lynds, the president and co-founder of MVP.Aero, said the company hopes that there will be a lot of shared ownership of the MVP, with a target market of young executives or entrepreneurs that might spend their disposable income on a sailboat or second home.

Time will tell whether the MVP becomes an airplane that captures not only the imagination, but that market as well.

(First and third images from staff. Other images provided by MVP.Aero)



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