Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Evektor SportStar: Czech Mate

Mostly metal and all fun, the Evektor SportStar brings its own formula to the LSA class

evektorThe category is called light-sport aircraft, and one look at the Evektor SportStar suggests that it practically defines the type. A product of the Czech Republic’s largest aircraft manufacturer, Evektor-Aerotechnik of Kunovice, the SportStar is one of many products from a company with a prestigious international client list—Boeing, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Let Aircraft and others.
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Choose to cruise at a typical 6,500 to 7,500 feet, and you’ll see reasonably good speed. Evektor recognizes that cruise is conditional upon a dozen factors that aren’t always controllable, and for that reason, they set the max cruise number at a variable 100 to 110 knots. Economy cruise is pegged at 95 knots.

The SportStar isn’t strictly about speed, however. The cabin is large and comfortable, vibration is minimal, and the noise level is reasonable, so the airplane should make a good platform for cross-country transport. Fuel capacity is 31.5 gallons. Burn is about 5 gph, so you could reasonably plan four- to five-hour trips without stretching reserves. In no-wind conditions, that means you could fly cross-country legs as long as 550 nm—Los Angeles to Albuquerque, Dallas to Denver or Chicago to Atlanta—in one hop.

In-flight handling characteristics are pleasant without being super quick. Roll rate is on the order of 40 degrees per second, and pitch authority is well harmonized. Unlike some other LSAs, the SportStar manifests a reasonable amount of adverse yaw. That means you’ll need to relearn the use of rudder to coordinate turns greater than 10 degrees of bank.

Power-off glide at 50 knots results in a sink rate under 500 fpm. If the Rotax stops unexpectedly and you’re 7,500 feet above near-sea-level terrain, you’ll have about 15 minutes to find an appropriate parking spot. Stalls are fairly benign, with little tendency to spin. Published dirty stall is 39 knots, and in combination with effective brakes, that translates to good short-field characteristics, well under 700 feet for both takeoff and landing.

Landing characteristics don’t present any special challenge. It’s easy to rotate the nose to a comfortable, high angle of attack for touchdown on the mains, then lower the nosewheel to the asphalt. Braking is with standard toe brakes.

The airplane I flew was out of Sport Planes West in Hemet, Calif., one of five American dealers. The folks in Hemet’s suggested base price for the standard SportStar is $104,950 with an operational stack of VFR radios and instruments. Add most of the options that majority of pilots would normally select (including an autopilot), and you'll have a fully operational cross-country machine for about $113,000.

Light-sport aircraft have become a force in general aviation in the last two years, and as the first certified LSA, Evektor’s SportStar is one of the leaders of the pack. It’s a little more expensive than some other models, but if you’re looking for a big cabin, good performance and economical operation, the SportStar may be an ideal ticket to ride.

SPECS: Evektor Sportstar

Labels: LSAs


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