Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Is this the low-cost, cheap-repair, rugged LSA trainer that everybody is overlooking?
Even Pipistrel's new Alpha trainer, a sophisticated all-composite S-LSA, currently costs around $85,000. The base price of the BushCat is right around $50,000. Even with a 912 ULS 100 hp power plant—the makers offer four engine packages, and more to come—we're still talking around $65,000.
But it's not just price I'm pitching here. Yes, for owners wanting local fun flying and occasional long trips (BushCat has a 600-mile-plus range, but even at even 105 mph cruise it will take you a while), it's a cheap ride.
Also relevant to training costs is the easy avail of quick and inexpensive repair. Prang a wing or fuselage tube? No sweat: unbolt it and swap in another one. Can you imagine that with significant composite or built-up aluminum airframe damage? Methinks not."
BushCat has good three-axis control feel and authority, too. Unlike some ultralight-style LSA, it doesn't wallow around in the air. That's perfect for teaching stick-and-rudder skills that will transfer well to any higher-performing aircraft down the road.
And with real fuel-sipping economy, especially for the smaller-engine versions, yet with a claimed climb rate of 700 fpm for even the lowest-powered version (Rotax 582, 65hp), performance isn't compromised. To reiterate, Syvertson and I, with well over 400 pounds of ballast between us and nearly a full tank, flew on a hot, humid Florida day, yet the airplane never labored. BushCat is no couch-potato kitty.
Look at the sidebars for more info on the recent upgrade from Cheetah XLS to BushCat. For now, if affordable cost (this would be a great club airplane), durability, low operating costs and fun flying are on your wish list, I suggest you get over any reticence you may feel at tube/envelope construction. It's not only a proven technology, but with all the nifty bells and whistles, storage compartments (81 pounds max), this flivver makes home the LSA bacon. Don't overlook this diamond in the rough.
More Cool Features
Avionics: All-MGL avionics including V10 transceiver radio, electronic engine monitors, airspeed indicator, altimeter, compass, slip indicator.
Additional Standard Features: Dual-accessory power adapters; cloth interior with height-adjustable seats and headrests; map pockets; center arm rest with built-in storage; arm rest with integrated throttle; dual four-point seat harness; landing lights; luggage storage area.
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