Although I rode shotgun during the showcase flight, it was hard not to notice that the airplane remained stable and at altitude in the windy conditions while we waited in the predetermined holding pattern for the radio call to proceed to Linder Regional. Andrew kept us banked in a 30- to 45-degree left-hand turn with two-finger control for nearly 15 minutes. On the way back to KGIF, Andrew offered me the controls. Holding altitude en route was easy, and maintaining a steady approach speed of 70 knots coming into KGIF, even with an 18-knot crosswind, was manageable, as was recovery from a gust right at flare. The Eaglet did seem forgiving and more like a standard category trainer. Just like Dave said it would.
Cubcrafters CarbonCub SS
Jim Richmond, president of Cubcrafters, told me point-blank the morning of the CarbonCub demo flight out of South Lakeland Airport (X49) that the company’s focus “is not so much that we produce LSAs, but that we produce fun. The fact it’s an LSA is a bonus.” About 1.5 hours later, after general manager Randy Lervold and I returned from our flight, I couldn’t have agreed with him more. (Check out the “Taildragger Fun: The CarbonCub SS LSA” video of the demo ride and see for yourself.) The airplane can be certified as an S-LSA or E-LSA and comes equipped with a whopping 180-horsepower CC340 engine that makes quick and fun work of takeoff runs and climb-outs (at sea level up to 2,100 fpm). Loosely based on the Super Cub, this modern design meets the LSA maximum weight with carbon-fiber construction and 50 percent fewer parts, making it 250 pounds lighter than its distant relative.
The design updates were apparent. The demo came equipped with the optional Garmin Aera 560 GPS (it can be ordered with full glass too), which was handy in the unfamiliar environs as we cruised to Wauchula (CHN) to fill up the two 12-gallon wing tanks in preparation for a day of demo rides. It was a beautiful morning for a flight, made all the more apparent by the excellent visibility ahead, to the sides and above, through the skylight. The stick control forces were a bit heavier than in the other LSAs, but not unlike those in the Cubs I spent some training time in as a teenager, and the airplane felt solid and stable in flight. The real fun for me, however, started with takeoff out of CHN. The airplane wanted to fly itself off the paved runway as soon we got under way with full power. The fun continued back at X49. Easy maneuverability at the slow approach speed of 55 mph helped make my three landings passable. Randy showed the CC’s true stuff for the camera with a no-wind fourth takeoff that had wheels off the ground in 150 feet (counted off by ground crew) and a climb to pattern altitude in no time. At the end of the demo, I couldn’t describe the flight as being anything other than fun. A ton of fun.