Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Evektor Sportstar Max: An LSA For All Seasons

Mature, stable, fun, comfortable: Evektor’s superb Sportstar max offers the whole package

The upgraded cockpit features the latest Dynon SkyView avionics, plastic trim, extended side panels, new control sticks and a center console with an armrest.

Weathering The Ride

Midway through our second two-hour leg in challenging turbulence, the Max had demonstrated its winning handling personality. The bird evokes classic Piper and Cessna metal birds in that there are no surprises. Benign nonstalls give gentle warning but require only relaxing the stick forward or a touch of power to neutralize. Crank-and-bank work (Work? Naw, fun!) required losing my newly acquired J3 Cub rudder skills—they’re not needed. The wing exhibits so little adverse yaw tendency that turns require almost no rudder input.

Control feel? Harmoniously balanced and firm but responsive, thanks to all-pushrod linkage—no cables or compensating springs to muddy up the feel —and an overall sense of solid, honest feedback. Gradually increasing pressures, such as when rolling into steep banks, let you sense what the airframe “feels.”
In fact, everything about the Max feels solid but responsive. Cruising at 6,500 feet, we enjoyed the spot-on sophistication of the TruTrak EFIS GP with built-in two-axis autopilot. It linked inputs to the Garmin GNS 430W GPS course and altitude settings with unwavering accuracy. When we knob-dialed changes, TruTrak’s autopilot responded with sublime smoothness.

This is my third flight in a SportStar over two years; the breed never fails to impress with its all-around, superb performance. Two examples: “Riding the waves” through strong turbulence, Art had me prioritize my tasks as I hand-flew the course for an hour.

Rolling and pitching through the bilious bubbles, I worked at holding between 80 and 90 knots, mindful of the max convective maneuvering speed (90 knots), whilst holding altitude and course as he deftly twiddled the precision vernier throttle in and out—he’s an engineer, after all.

I won’t pretend comfort in the bumps that bounced from 1,000 fpm up to 1,000 fpm down, but I was impressed with the sense of security Max imbues to your efforts. Its inherent aerodynamic stability makes negotiating such conditions a confidence-building experience.

All LSA are light airplanes. The Max tips the scales between 680 pounds and 740 pounds, depending on equipment, so it won’t power-plow through trash like a Boeing 777. But it does adapt to conditions with certainty and stability as it wiggles its way through: You never feel it’s going to get away from you.
That’s important in an IFR-capable platform. The Max can be configured for full IFR flight and flown by an appropriately rated pilot into—or out of—inclement weather.

“The IFR version,” Art says, “also has dual, heated pitot tubes, and the navigation instruments are all FAR Part 23 certified. It’s legal and fully capable of IMC.”

Aiding the biological side is the gently reclined seating. I’ve never been more comfortable in any LSA. For long trips, Art boosts the attractive upholstery’s comfort with a thin back/seat cushion. We flew for six hours, and I never once squirmed in my seat.


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