SkyCraft SD-1 Minisport: An LSA that Flies for $12 an Hour

Work has started on low-cost flivver.

Homebuilt SD-1 Minisport
Homebuilt SD-1 Minisport
** Homebuilt SD-1 Minisport**

Back in another era when flying was expensive and only the very wealthy could afford Wacos, Stinsons and Travel Airs, a new class of low-cost, low-power airplanes lowered the financial bar for aircraft ownership. With newly developed engines in the 50 hp range, lightweight Cubs, Taylorcrafts and Aeroncas brought flying within range of a whole new market. In the 21st century, the light sport aircraft class seemed geared to repeat that development, but most commercially available LSAs disappointed potential buyers with their six-figure price tags.

Now, SkyCraft, based in Utah, seems committed to fulfilling the unkept promise with its $55,000 SD-1 Minisport. Based on a Czech design, the single-seat SD-1 is wood and composite construction, powered by a German-built 50 hp Hirth F-23 engine, and including Dynon Skyview avionics with synthetic vision, traffic and weather. Mode S and a ballistic parachute are optional. The design is available in taildragger or tricycle-gear configurations, and has removable wings.

SkyCraft says the airplane will cost about $12 an hour to fly, including fuel (1.8 gallons per hour) and overhaul reserve on the 1,000-hr-TBO Hirth. Cruise speed is pegged at around 105 knots. Specs include 1,400 fpm rate of climb; 43 knot stall speed (34 knots with flaps); 245-pound empty weight; 288-pound useful load; 9.7 gallon fuel capacity for five hours endurance; 500 nm range; +4/-2g loading; and 220-foot takeoff distance.

Kits have been available for a while now at $21,000 including the engine, but work started this month on the factory-built version. SkyCraft plans to have an SD-1 at this year's Oshkosh Airshow. Find out more at skycraftairplanes.com/sd-1-minisport.