Wednesday, October 1, 2008
YIPPEE: Evolution Of A Thoroughbred
Nearly a quarter of a century in gestation, the LoPresti Fury flies into the 21st century full of promise
The bottom line is an airplane so well-conceived, utterly balanced and in tune with the pilot that it blows away nearly everything else in or out of its class. The LoPresti Fury features flush riveting all around; fully gap-sealed ailerons and flaps; a wing repositioned four inches forward for optimum speed and ground handling; a customized sliding canopy designed to reduce drag to a minimum; an airfoil with no twist; plus about a thousand other aerodynamic tricks, all intended to produce the best speed and optimum handling.
With help from aviation enthusiast and former Apple executive R.J. Siegel, the LoPrestis have pushed forward plans for a development facility in Sebastian, Fla., and hope to start work this year on an assembly plant in New Mexico. By the time you read this, LoPresti's Sebastian facility should be up and running, assembling the first of three production prototypes.
Fornof has flown a variety of airplanes in conjunction with his motion picture and television work, and he analogizes the LoPresti Fury straight across to a WWII fighter. "Obviously, it's smaller and not as fast, but the handling is remarkably similar," says Fornof. "Roy designed the LoPresti Fury with fighters in mind. He was determined that his airplane would pay more than lip service to the military HOTAS principle—hands on throttle and stick."
That's especially important for fighter pilots who must maneuver and manipulate aircraft and weapons systems simultaneously. It's just pure fun for those of us in general aviation. Collectively, the stick and throttle house switches for flaps, speed brakes, push to talk, trim, autopilot disconnect, landing light, transponder ident and more.
Unlike most fighters, which house their single- or two-pilot crew in a small enclosure out on the pointy end (or in tandem cockpits for two), the LoPresti Fury seats its pilots side by side. A single throttle is mounted at the center panel. If you're a former military aviator (or wish you were), the most logical place to fly the LoPresti Fury prototype is from the right seat, where the stick falls naturally to your right hand and the throttle to your left. Production LoPresti Furies will be configured with an optional second throttle on the left sidewall, so either pilot can fly with right hand on stick and left hand on throttle.
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Labels: Piston Singles