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
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.)
The original Meyers 145 was an agile but not very enthusiastic sportplane, whereas the Meyers 200 and Interceptor 400 were regarded as leading-edge machines in the ’60s. Despite that (or perhaps because of it), today’s SP26 is an acknowledged aesthetic success, a sexy taildragger with an attitude. Parked on the ramp, the airplane assumes a deceptively jaunty stance, looking for all the world like that ultimate aviation cliché, a baby fighter. (Sorry.)
Slide the overhead hatch back, and the airplane seems to invite you to fly. The rails for the bubble canopy extend far aft, providing good access to the office. You step over the sidewall and ease your butt down into the seat, just like Hoover or Yeager mounting a P-51. Baggage goes into a compartment behind the seats and beneath the aft turtledeck.
From the minute you settle into the soft, cushy Oregon Aero buckets, you just know this airplane is going to be a ball to fly. The cockpit enjoys a pair of sticks with contoured handgrips that look almost military in appearance. There’s, however, only one button on top of each joystick: radio transmit. There’s also a trigger on the top front of each stick, but it doesn’t control guns or missiles. It clicks the landing lights on and off—mundane task, clever design.
Directly behind your head, you can’t help but notice a tough roll-bar structure, designed to protect both pilots in the event of an upset. Like the early Meyers airplanes, the SP26 is a tough machine, built to absorb turbulence, bad landings and general pilot stupidity. The Micco embraces 4130 chrome-moly steel and aluminum construction, and you can be reasonably certain that the airplane will hang together if you can merely remain conscious. Stress limits are technically +6/-3 G’s, the legal aerobatic certification tolerances, but the SP26 has been static-tested to positive 11 G’s.
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