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
Yes, the Micco is a taildragger, but it doesn’t suffer from some of the traditional tailwheel blues. The cowling slopes downhill to preserve forward visibility, so there’s no need for S-turns on the taxiway. Gear stance is wide and the wheel base is long—both portents of good stability on the ground and reduced susceptibility to crosswind upsets. The third wheel is free-castering, so the airplane is ultimately maneuverable on the asphalt, capable of reversing direction in its own wingspan.
Power loading is low enough that the Micco lifts off and starts uphill aggressively, without a pause to catch its breath. Flip the gear selector up, and the electrohydraulic system arcs the wheels inboard into the wells in about six seconds. In addition to the usual indicator lights, you have two small windows in the floorboards to check wheel position.
Climb rate is listed as 1,500 fpm, and you can’t avoid the conclusion that the injected, 260 hp engine is the perfect marriage of powerplant to airframe. In combination with the semi-scimitar Hartzell prop, the Lycoming provides plenty of enthusiasm without draining the fuel supply inordinately.
Usable fuel in each wing is 14 gallons inboard and 34 gallons outboard, for a total of 96 gallons, all stored in wet wings. In a typical light IFR configuration, the SP26 can carry full outboard tanks and two folks plus toothbrushes. Flying solo, a pilot can fill all the tanks to 96 gallons total and enjoy nearly eight hours of endurance at economy cruise.
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.)
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