Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Heavenly Dawn Patrol

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

The Remos NXTGX flown for this article was equipped with dual Dynon SkyView glass panels, a Garmin 696 GPS unit and SL30 Nav/Com, a PS Engineering PM8000BT audio panel, and matching leather seats and carpet.

Ryan Hernandez demonstrates his confidence in the airplane by letting me pretty much do everything on our flight, including landing at Brennand a mere 10 minutes after departing Oshkosh. That may not sound like such a big deal until I tell you that the strip at that pretty little flying field is only 20 feet wide...and looks like 10 on short final!

Yet here I am in the slot, relaxed as a just-fed hound dog sleeping in summer shade, though I haven’t flown anything in weeks. Remos has made it a breeze to line up on that thin asphalt ribbon, as if I had a hundred hours in type.

Hernandez calls out nominal speeds and sets the flaps at 15 degrees, then 30, making it even easier. Such a tough job I’ve got.

He affirms my 65 mph approach speed is about right, (the Dynon SkyView EFIS is set up for mph). I rotate, we settle, I’m easing back on the nice leather-covered stick to flare when a quick, slight rumble of wheels on tarmac tells me we’re planted and rolling.

The steel-tube gear absorbed that slightly fast touchdown without complaint or tendency to divert from the straight and nice. I keep the nose lined up well enough on that skinny strip; nosewheel steering is plenty responsive but damped sufficiently that, in a couple of seconds, I’ve figured out the right amount of pedal pressure. Soopah!

The only control challenge I find is the push-forward hand brake on the center console. It’s very effective, but counterintuitive for me: I learned to pull back for braking in the LSA in which I got my sport license. A couple false pulls, and I get squared away with that.

So What’s GXNXT?
Each pilot has a singular top priority with any airplane. Mine is simple: How does it feel in flight? That’s why I’ve emphasized the wonderful handling of the GX, and please excuse my personal indulgence. The new model is indeed the same airplane aerodynamically as the GX Aviator II model that I flew before, but hey, who doesn’t enjoy rambling on about their favorite thing?

The GXNXT is an important step forward though, even if it (merely) sports the same superb aerodynamics, thanks to the efforts of those clever Remos designers and engineers, who have been listening to customer squawks and making changes.

The most immediately visceral update is the redesigned instrument panel. They’ve lopped off 1.5 inches from the top and one inch from the bottom. That may not sound like much, but the effect is tangible and agreeable: Forward visibility and leg room are much enhanced. Combine that with good side-, rear- and overhead-window real estate, and you’ve got excellent all-around visibility, especially for a high winger.

Labels: LSAs

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