Plane & Pilot
Monday, July 1, 2013

Badlands Buster

Pictures from an exhibition of LSA STOL like you’ve never seen before

I'm about to commit aviation at Paradise City, the light-sport/ultralight demo area of Sun 'n Fun's annual Fly-In & Expo. It's spring, when pilots' fancies swing like a weathervane to thoughts of flight. Eager folks line the temporary orange plastic flightline fence, specifically to watch us take off. Showtime!

Rocket To Stardom
The airplane is Just Aircraft's SuperStol, a dope-and-fabric taildraggin' LSA, (offered as an EAB kit, too) with an all-metal wing, welded 4130 steel cage and automatically extending full-span leading edge slats.

But wait, there's more...Fowler flaps; Frise ailerons; full-span, two-segment, automatically deploying leading edge slats; a shock-absorbing tailwheel and the pièce de résistance: a whizzbang, long-throw, air shock main gear oleo strut (to soak up 18 inches of vertical wheel travel), topped off with humongous, almost cartoony bush tires.

Remember the Twilight Zone movie where a crew member sketched wheels that appeared beneath a crippled B-17 to save the day? Yeah: tires like that.

These key components make major contributions to get in/get out anywhere with STOL (Short TakeOff/Landing) performance. Does the name Helio Courier ring a familiar note?

It's not therefore surprising that designer Troy Woodland's dream all along was to morph his highly popular Highlander kit bush plane (300 delivered to date) into a Helio Courier-like LSA performer.

So here I am, strapped into the very comfortable left seat, wondering how well the SuperStol moniker will stand up to hands-on scrutiny. Troy Woodland mans the right seat—his favorite perch—and checks the readouts one more time. The Rotax has warmed up nicely in the humid Florida morning air, and...

"Ready?" he asks.

"You bet."

He pulls in two notches on the Johnson bar flap lever, and the big Fowlers move back and down to the 25-degree setting. Full range is 40 degrees; talk about barn doors.

Labels: LSAs


Add Comment