Thursday, November 1, 2007
Kappa KP-5: LSA With A Difference
The Czech Republic continues to offer some of the most comfortable and capable LSAs in the industry
|Most of us who came to LSAs from the fully certified Part 23 side of the industry were initially a little skeptical as to whether the new class of aircraft was “real.” Would LSAs be as flimsy and primitive as some of the early ultralights?|
The Rotax translates power to thrust via a fixed-pitch, 68-inch, Woodcomp, three-blade prop, not surprisingly, a combination wood/composite design. A spinner is standard on the Kappa.
The KP-5 is fairly conventional in design and is all-aluminum in construction. It incorporates a GA(W)-1 airfoil at the roots, tapering to a -2 at the tips. The wing incorporates small winglets at the tips to help control stalls and also features electric Fowler flaps to reduce stall speed. Apparently, the combination works fairly well, as the KP-5 stops flying at an insignificant 33 knots.
Landing gear is tricycle-style with a steerable nosegear and trailing link dampening to smooth the landings. Standard fuel load is 17 gallons, located in 8.5-gallon leading-edge tanks in each wing. Gross weight is 1,278 pounds, and if you need to maximize payload, you’ll probably live with the standard tanks.
Many pilots opt for the eight-gallon aux tanks to boost total capacity to 25 gallons. At a burn rate of 5.3 gph, the big tanks provide an endurance of about 3.5 hours plus reserve at max cruise. Pulled back to 55%, you can add an hour to that time, but neither of those time spans is a limitation in training mode.
The canopy hinges at the front, revealing a nicely furnished cabin by AirTex, a Pennsylvania company. The cockpit is generous in dimension, a full 47.2 inches across, and that qualifies it as a true general aviation wide body, not all that common in an LSA. Kappa employs a clever trick that’s been used before to provide more cross-sectional room. The two pilot seats are staggered, with the right bucket mounted six inches aft of the left, just enough to displace the pilot and copilot’s elbows and shoulders. Stick and rudder pedals on the right side are displaced appropriately.
Engine start and taxi are conventional for an LSA, but proper stick position is important to keep the airplane stable in any significant crosswind. The good news about nosewheels is that they’re far easier to manage on the ground than tailwheels. Taxiing the Kappa is relatively easy with the nosegear providing 15 degrees of deflection to each side. Braking is via a centrally mounted handbrake. The airplane’s light weight is apparent during ground operations, an advantage in this case.
Unleash the Rotax, and the KP-5 accelerates better than you might expect. It leaps off in less than 500 feet with little effort and outclimbs your expectations. With two aboard and full fuel, expect better than 1,000 fpm. The Rotax is rated for 100 hp (5,800 engine rpm) for the first five minutes, then must be reduced to 95 hp (5,500 rpm) for max continuous climb.