Updated Belite Chipper Arrives at Sun ‘n Fun 2018

Two-place STOL continues to evolve.

belite chipper
Chipper kits can now include a metal-wing option.Belite Aircraft

Belite Aircraft’s short takeoff and landing airplane, the Chipper arrived yesterday sprouting a new pair of metal wings, as well as a few other updates. An experimental kit-built airplane, the Chipper can now be created with aluminum-skinned wings riveted at the leading edge and bonded to the wing ribs.

Belite's President James Wiebe told Flying the metal wing option was created after a number of customer requests and that despite what might seem like the addition of dozens of tiny drag producers, the "leading edge rivets were added with a technique that guarantees a clean wing." After some research, Wiebe said he's convinced the metal wing offers less drag than the fabric wing. "When you fly the fabric version, you can see very tiny ripples where the air slides beneath the wing that translated into extra drag." The metal wing is also available with the same wing-folding option as the fabric covered version.

The Chipper also landed at LAL with a more powerful Rotax engine installed, one now capable of 114 hp., versus the original 80 hp electronic ignition version installed originally. Interestingly though, the added horsepower comes from the original Rotax motor, but with a Big Bore bolt-on engine performance upgrade added. Big Bore, a creation of Edge Performance of Norway, replaces the original Rotax cylinders and pistons with larger versions. Thanks to the Big Bore mod, the Chipper now cruises at 120 mph.

The updated airplane Wiebe brought from Wichita holds up to 47 gallons of fuel which, at a fuel consumption of 5.75 gph, means a pilot ordering the long-range tanks can fly seven hours and still land with a comfortable reserve. Wiebe installed the tanks for a few long-distance trips he has planned, such as to Alaska for next month’s Great Alaska Aviation Gathering. He thinks most builders will probably choose the slightly smaller 34-gallon option that still gives the Chipper some pretty long legs. Wiebe says the Rotax really likes running on Mo-Gas too.

Sun 'n Fun visitors will be able to see the Chipper's new cowling, improved cabin legroom, new upholstery and a leading edge cuff that improves the airplane's already spectacular short field performance.

Wiebe said a completed flying version of the Chipper, including an engine, will run about $35-40,000 and can be built as either a nosewheel equipped airplane or a taildragger. The Chipper is available in a traditional kit format after a 6-week wait, or in a Quick-Build version that demands about four months of patience for the parts to arrive. Wiebe said a Chipper on floats might be available some time in 2019.