Plane & Pilot
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

kappa aircraftMost 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?
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On the way uphill, you can’t help but notice the excellent visibility through the semi-bubble canopy. The view to the rear is slightly blocked by the aft turtledeck, so you may not spot the airplane that’s about to eat you, but at least you can take consolation that’s it’s probably not another LSA.

That’s because the KP-5 is modestly quick, near the upper speed limit set by the FAA. Establish power at 5,000 rpm (75% power) under optimum conditions, and you’ll see roughly 115 knots. Speed isn’t necessarily the only reason you’d buy an LSA, but the Kappa offers more than enough for less than too much.

If you use max cruise power, you can expect to range out just under 400 nm before you’ll need a refueling stop. For those strange people who like to fly slow, range may be extended by as much as 100 nm.

You could probably even plant a Kappa off airport if necessary. Those big Fowler flaps droop to 35 degrees and cover almost a third of the inboard trailing edge. The result is approaches at 45 knots (still 1.35 Vso) without that verge-of-destruction feeling. The gear absorbs impacts well, and even a student should be able to stop the KP-5 in well under 600 feet, if necessary.

The airplane is ideally suited as a relatively inexpensive trainer or as a cross-country cruiser, and that’s likely how many of the type will be used. The stall is benign, control response won’t get ahead of a typical student and operating costs are about as minimal as they get.

Base price for a bare-bones KP-5 is $105,000. Add a basic day/VFR package (Garmin SL-40 com, panel-mounted 396 GPS and a 320 transponder), and you’re up to $115,000. The top option includes an autopilot and a full glass panel with EFIS and EMS (the Cross-Country Edition) for $137,000.

Somehow, I can’t help thinking most of these LSAs will be sold in basic airplane configuration or day/VFR at most, no ups, no extras. The training mission doesn’t demand all the extras, and students will probably enjoy the Kappa KP-5 most when its equipped least.

Kappa KP-5

Labels: LSAsSpecs


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