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Tue, Nov 22, 2022

Scoda Aeronautica Announces New Petrel XP

An LSA Amphibious Seaplane

In a prelude to what may well prove a fundamental shake-up of the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) market, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Scoda Aeronautica recently revealed the prototype of its Super Petrel XP—a Rotax 915is-powered amphibious seaplane that conforms—ostensibly—to extant LSA regulatory requirements.

Scoda’s confidence in the inchoate design is evinced by an announcement stating the XP is to replace the Super Petrel LS as the company’s flagship.  

The XP prototype was conceived of and built from the ground up to accommodate Rotax’s 915is aircraft engine. Scoda will continue to offer Rotax’s 912is as an option for XP buyers; the 912ULS and 914UL, however, are not compatible with the XP’s architecture.

Among the new features with which Scoda has appointed the XP are larger wheels—the lower rotational rates promise to save tire-wear—and a reworked canopy design that affords easier cockpit ingress by sliding forward then lifting up—thereby allowing pilots and passengers to enter via the XP’s nose and step down into the aircraft.

The XP’s lineage can be traced back to Tisserand Hydroplum, a single-seat, wooden amphibian first flown in 1983. In 1987, Société Morbihannaise d'Aéro Navigation (SMAN) acquired production rights to the Hydroplum II—the two-seat, Rotax-532-powered successor of the original Hydroplum—and took to marketing the contraption as the Petrel. In 2002, the Super Petrel was developed by Edra Aeronautica. Since 2014, the Super Petrel LS has been manufactured by Scoda Aeronáutica of Ipeúna, São Paulo, Brazil.

The Super Petrel LS is an amphibious biplane powered by a single, dorsally-mounted, centerline-thrust engine turning an aft-facing, three-blade Airplast pusher-propeller. The aircraft’s single-step hull is an epoxy/carbon monocoque with a carbon-fiber boom supporting an all carbon-composite, cruciform empennage. The machine’s center section is supported by a pylon that also houses the engine mounting.

The Super Petrel LS’s constant-chord, zero-sweep wings comprise tubular aluminum-alloy spars and PVC foam ribs, and sport angled winglets. Ailerons are present on the upper-wings exclusively.  

With an empty weight of only 705-pounds, the Super Petrel LS manages a respectable 1,323-pound maximum gross takeoff weight (MGTOW). Notwithstanding its anodyne 110-knot Vne and 95-knot cruise-speed, the Super Petrel LS’s docile 30-knot stall speed speaks to a high degree of stability—much as its 510-nautical-mile range and 10,000-foot service-ceiling speak to an impressive degree of utility.

The extent to which the new XP model’s specifications and performance conform to those of its predecessor remain to be seen. Photos of the new aircraft reveal numerous cosmetic changes—but any aerodynamicist worth his salt will counsel caution to those inclined to conflate good-looks and superior performance. Consider the B-58 Hustler …

In any case, Scoda reports it will soon upload a video in which further information about the XP will be made public.



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