Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The“i”s Have It

The CTLSi delivers performance with efficiency

Getting in the airplane requires no contortions. Simply park your butt on the seat, swing a leg over the stick as you swivel into the cockpit, bringing your other leg inside. With the cantilevered wing, there's no strut to avoid. The gull-wing doors, held open by gas struts, seal with an authoritative grasp when the latch is pushed full forward. Among the first things one notices once inside is the size of the cabin and the exterior visibility. At 49 inches across, the cabin is more than half a foot wider than a Bonanza. Seats are laterally adjustable and made to accommodate adults up to 6' 6" tall. The huge windshield and side door windows augmented by a pair of port windows just aft of the doors provide excellent visibility, and with the small engine cowl, there's little to obstruct vision.

With the Rotax integrated with the Dynon SkyView flight deck, one doesn't start the engine as much as start the system. First, one of the engine's two computers is brought online, performing checks on both computers before signaling the motor is ready for ignition. (During pre-takeoff run-up, the ersatz mag check is actually a re-check of the individual computers.) The OAT was in the 30s, but the engine immediately fired up, and oil temps quickly rose into the green. After engine start, the second panel screen is turned on. Be prepared to use the brakes while taxiing. The geared Rotax engine needs to maintain at least 1,820 rpm for the health of the gearbox, requiring periodic braking to keep the taxiing speed below a trot.

The new Rotax 912iS fuel-injected engine puts the "i" in CTLSi.
For takeoff, set the pitch, turn on the aux fuel pump, advance the power and the airplane is airborne moments after the throttle reaches the forward stop. After hooking up with a Cessna 210 photo platform as the sun came up, we headed west at 2,000 feet to fly in quieter skies. Having the ADS-B system calling and displaying traffic underscored the advances in panel capabilities today's LSA offer.

In cruise, the flap is set to a reflex angle of negative six degrees, which increases airspeed; the reflex is limited to negative six degrees to keep the aircraft from exceeding the LSA cruise speed limit. Boucher adjusted the throttle to demonstrate three basic cruise power settings. Eco mode delivered about 107 knots at four gph, while 75% power yielded about 119 knots at a 6.5 gph burn. Boucher prefers the sweet spot in the middle: about 114 knots at a fuel flow of 4.5 gph. "To burn two extra gallons per hour for three or four knots is not really worth it," he said.

In addition to the fuel-injected Rotax, the CTLSi offers glass panel choices that include dual Dynon SkyView SV-D1000 display screens paired with a backup Garmin 796 MFD with dedicated SV-470 ADS-B receiver, providing synthetic vision, traffic and weather via ADS-B. No backup analog instruments are necessary, thanks to the Dynon's dual redundant Air Data/Attitude/Heading Reference System (ADAHRS) and multiple GPS receivers.

With the release of SkyView 6.0 last year, the autopilot features now include a flight director, VNAV, IAS hold, mode sequencing and fully coupled approaches. The updated SkyView also incorporates a "LEVEL" button on the panel (also menu accessible) that restores the aircraft to wings level, and holds heading and altitude when engaged. Not simply for emergencies, the LEVEL function is useful when hand-flying if you want to take a coffee break or whip out a pair of binoculars to check out something on the ground.

With onboard weather compliments of ADS-B, we could scroll out on the moving maps to look for any potential meteorological obstructions. "There's no weather between us and the Great Lakes," Boucher said, as if ready to set out on a cross-country.


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