Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Kiss & Bristell
Friendly, refined, beefy for rough-field training, yet a cruiser’s delight
The deck on the version I flew was nicely equipped: Tru Trak 7.25 inches tall by 6 inches wide EFIS with all the bells and whistles, including airspeed, artificial horizon, VSI, HSI, slip/skid ball and lots more; the new seven-inch Garmin GPSMAP 796 GPS; a dockable Apple iPad; PS Engineering PM 3000 intercom; Garmin SL 40 comm radio and GTX 327 Mode C transponder; and Composite Design Electrical panel.
The overhead composite shield molded into the canopy blocks that brain-cooking overhead sun and also provides some additional rollover protection. Some might prefer a curtain or semi-opaque sunblocker, but if you don't require the straight overhead view, there's still an abundance of good visibility.
The Bristell cockpit measures 51 inches wide and features leather/fabric upholstery.
There's no distracting distortion from the one-piece canopy, so tracking straight on power- up is easy. Liftoff comes quick, and holding John Rathmell's recommendation of 62 knots (best L/D speed in case of engine failure. Note: Barry Pruitt recommends 65), we see around 1,200 fpm, with near-full fuel and 400 pounds of payload.
The Bristell feels like an old friend on my first crosswind turn. Although not quite as nimble in roll as a Remos GXNXT, the pushrod-enabled handling has no slop, and is quick, smooth and responsive, never twitchy: You put in a touch of muscle, and the airplane goes right there. Same with pitch: Both axes feel nicely balanced and friendly.
The rocker-style elevator trim tab is right where your hand can easily find it, left of the throttle quadrant. Very easy to trim up: I like it better than on top of the stick where many LSA have it.
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