Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Finding A Czech Mate For Flying Adventures

The European SportCruiser LSA comes into its own

The fit and finish of the machined parts is excellent, and the aircraft is sturdy and rugged, as Woodard demonstrated by giving the forward-hinged clamshell bubble canopy, now in the open position, a vigorous tug and then pounding on the frame. "This thing's not going anywhere," he said.

Inside, the seating is side by side, and the center console includes a 12-volt receptacle for running or recharging a mobile device. Rudder pedals are adjustable forward and aft, though the seats are fixed in place.

It may not be the most modern SportCruiser, but the LTD is no slouch in the avionics department, outfitted with Dynon display screens on the left and right, Dynon AP74 autopilot, and Garmin SL30 NAV/COM and Garmin 696 GPS, which will display traffic from the Mode S transponder in an active radar environment. "Customers who are former airline pilots say it's just as good as what they used," Woodard said.

Flying The SportCruiser
If you're transitioning from a steam-gauge airplane, be aware that the glass-paneled aircraft is started by powering up the avionics. "If [the system] tells you there's a network error, we'd just do a reboot," Woodard said. "It happens once every 200 or 300 flights." To minimize such errors, engage the systems in the order they prefer: master, instruments, avionics and autopilot. Completion of the self-test is annunciated on the right display screen. "It's a one-glance system," Woodard said. "If you look over and don't see any red or yellow shading, you're healthy to go."

We closed and locked the blue-tinted canopy. The throttle control in the center panel is easily accessible from both seats, held in position with a friction lock. (A ballistic recovery system is an option, and the handle for the chute is also in the center panel.) For engine start, crack the throttle and turn the key, and the Rotax immediately jumps to life without any of the hesitation or sputtering that often attend Lycoming and Continental startups.

The castering nosewheel gives the SportCruiser great maneuverability onthe ground. For takeoff, flaps, which extend to 30 degrees, are set to about 10 degrees, deploying at the rate of about five degrees per second with the electric flap switch engaged.

"I like students to use the count method, so they're not staring at the indicator," Woodard said. For takeoff, a minimum power of 4,900 rpm is required. Acceleration is brisk, and in about 300 feet, we had reached our 45-knot rotation speed.

Labels: Piston Singles


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