Monday, September 1, 2008
For Town & Country
A hybrid lands in the bush
“Our hard-core bush pilots will scoff at that, but that’s the market,” Andrew said. “For us to move forward and for us to get the necessary (sales) volume, the tricycle gear had to be introduced.”
|Built for bush ops, the Expedition features an interior that’s aimed at utility, but not at the expense of passenger and pilot comfort. The 52-inch-wide cabin’s carbon-fiber side and door panels reduce weight and cabin noise.|
|Andrew Hamblin demonstrates the E350’s “four plus one” seating arrangement in the back. |
On paper, the 315 hp Lycoming IO-580-B1A offers only 15 more horses than the Bush Hawk’s IO-540. But it uses dual exhausts in place of a muffler, increasing horsepower by up to 3%, and the power boost gives the Expedition, at 3,800 pounds, a 250-pound-higher gross weight than the Hawk, bringing useful load to 1,500 pounds. That transforms the Expedition into what was almost a mythical beast in the general aviation world: a true four-place aircraft. With fuel capacity increased to 100 gallons, you can put four 200-pound people, 150 pounds of luggage and full fuel on-board the Expedition; clear a 50-foot obstacle in little more than 1,200 feet; and travel nearly 800 nm at about 160 knots with IFR reserves.
And if first impressions are really what counts, the Expedition’s JATO-like STOL performance will leave pilots suitably impressed. Flying with two, three and four people aboard during our time with the Expedition, it showed excellent short-field capability, and the 20-degree climb angle at Vy (85 knots) helps keep pilots and obstacles away from each other in the bush.
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Labels: Piston Singles