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
Standard gross weight in the utility category is 2,850 pounds. If you're a fan of acro, the Micco is approved for vertical fun at a slightly reduced takeoff weight, 2,650 pounds. With two folks and parachutes aboard, standard procedure is to top the inboard tanks with 28 gallons and still have enough fuel for more than an hour of high-performance freedom.
(It's not a major limitation, but the airplane is placarded with a max landing weight of 2,680 pounds. That means if you depart at gross, you'll need to burn down about 28 gallons before you can land. A landing-weight limitation is usually imposed to reduce landing stresses on the center section of the airplane.)
Handling is exactly what you'd expect from the look of the airplane, sporty and enthusiastic. Control interconnect is with rods to the ailerons and elevators and cables to the rudder. In any mode, response is nearly psychic in either the utility or aerobatic class. Think about a turn, and you're there. A 4-G pull is only a handshake away. Loops come naturally, and barrel rolls, aileron rolls and four points are pretty much no-brainers.
You can't help but wonder if this might make an interesting simulated air-combat aircraft. It does basic acro with a facility and dexterity that suggests it would be comfortable in that mission. Visibility through the bubble canopy is excellent, even looking directly to the rear. Micco tints the top of the SP26's Plexiglass dark gray to avoid any greenhouse effect.
Stated clean stall speed is about 54 knots, but there's plenty of aerodynamic warning. The stall itself is predictable and docile, unlikely to snap the airplane into a spin. It's not hard to imagine a pair of Miccos hassling for bragging rights in the burgeoning fighter-pilot-for-a-day business.
If you're looking to buy a cross-country cruiser, the Micco is only adequate, but then, perhaps you should consider buying a used Mooney or older Bonanza. The Micco's max cruise speed is only 155 knots, and with 260 hp on the nose, that's not terribly impressive. The airplane was never intended as a pure speed demon, however. It's more a fun machine that can combine basic acro with good climb and adequate cruise.
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