Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Heavenly Dawn Patrol

How to make a great LSA even better? Fine-tune that cockpit!

The expansive gray concrete of Oshkosh’s runway 27 drops away. Golden early-morning sun throws long shadows ahead of us, the sky is clear and blue with picture-perfect white puffball clouds, and before we’re 500 feet AGL, I’m smiling large.

Really now: What better way to start your day than in a Remos GX?

The GXNXT is the newest iteration of my favorite-handling LSA, the GX. The airframe and flight characteristics are the same: It’s the cockpit that’s gotten an updo.

My host is Ryan Hernandez, the easygoing CFI down South who’s wrangling demo duties for Remos, on behalf of Tommy Lee’s Adventure Flight Aviation out of Springdale, Ark.

Hernandez has a few hundred hours in the GX. He also wears a Wichita Tin hat by teaching in Cessna 172s and 182s, doing contract flying in twins and pulling right-seat duty in a Citation Jet. That diverse GA background prompts me to ask what he likes most about the GX.

“Its handling characteristics,” he answers, and that’s no surprise to me. “It’s just great for training. I always recommend this airplane to my new students, over a Cessna 152 or 172, because you can go right from light-sport training to the private and the instrument rating, at a more affordable cost.”

He tells me Tommy Lee rents the GX for $95 per hour. Even older Cessnas can rent for more than that. Factor in the lower fuel burn of the industry-stalwart 100 hp Rotax 912S engine, and you’ve got a winner for flight-school operations.

The Plane NeXT Door
We head north to nearby Brennand Airport, a lovely flying-community strip far from the madding Oshkosh air-traffic crowd. Crossing over the strip to enter a left pattern, I’m remembering why I was so impressed the first time I flew the GX 18 months ago: It’s as friendly and familiar as the girl next door. I’ve yet to fly a more enjoyable LSA. The steerable nosewheel and pushrod ailerons and elevator make for a smooth, no-slop control feel. No matter how rusty you may be, the airplane makes you feel like an ace again. What a sweetheart.

The GXNXT is forgiving and stable, and requires little rudder to initiate coordinated turns. The bird has a wonderfully crisp, balanced, sports-car-like (but not overly sensitive) responsiveness whether you move the stick around subtly or briskly.

Labels: LSAs

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