Plane & Pilot
Saturday, December 1, 2007

Micco SP26A: Capable Aerobat

This is that rare machine: a fun gentleman’s aerobat capable of cross-country travel or a Saturday-afternoon hamburger flight

Two-seaters have a special place in general aviation. The most common mission for two-place airplanes is pilot training. Say "two seats," and most pilots automatically envision models such as the Cessna 150, Diamond DA20, Beech Skipper and Piper Tomahawk.

There's another class of two-seaters, however, that has little to do with primary flight training. These airplanes are sport machines, intended more for fun than education. Models such as the Super Decathlon, Pitts S2C and Extra 300 most often are regarded as dedicated fun machines, better known for pure aviation joy than education.

Another sport model relatively new to the market is the recently reintroduced Micco SP26, a revival of the post-WWII Meyers 145. History is old, so we won't burden you with too much backstory. Nevertheless, it's impossible to understand an updated, half-century-old design without at least some examination of its past.

Florida's Seminole Indian tribe, led by Chief James Billie, acquired the type certificate for the old Meyers 145 in 1994, hoping to resurrect that airplane in modern form. The resulting airplane, the SP26, was certified by the Micco Aircraft Company in 2000. Named after the Seminole word for "leader," Micco ran into financial problems and was subsequently sold to an investor.

Aero Acquisitions, an Oklahoma corporation, was the next buyer. Former Micco president Dewitt Beckett and CEO James Billie acquired the type and production certificates from Aero and set up production in Bartlesville, Okla. The Micco still carries the same name and heritage, but the Seminole tribe no longer have any financial interest in the company.

While there's certainly more than a passing resemblance between the old Meyers 145 and the new SP26, the two airplanes are perhaps more remarkable for their differences. In fact, the current Micco is an amalgamation of three Meyers designs plus a few tricks of its own. The forward fuselage is a significantly improved version of the original Meyers 145's cabin, the vertical tail and rudder are newly designed by Micco to meet the aerobatic loads, and the wings and flaps are borrowed from the Interceptor 400. (The latter was a pressurized, Garrett/AiResearch turboprop adaptation of the Meyers 200. It was certified in 1972 in Norman, Okla., by Inceptor Corporation.)


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