An LSA that was 10 years in the making may aptly be called a “mature design” within this nascent sector of piston aircraft. A few others share a similarly “ripe, old” heritage, but most are far newer than the trusty GA models in which many of us learned the art of flying.
Designed by engineer Lorenz Kreitmayr, the first Remos G-3 took to the air in 1997 (10 years before the upgraded GX first flew). In 2008, N447RA, the first GX, arrived in the States for the big summer flyfest in Oshkosh, and that’s where I had a chance to update my Remos experience (previously earned in the G-3). Assisting and educating me were two Remos reps: National Technical Service Manager Cris Ferguson and Managing Director of Sales and Marketing Michael Meirer.
|Derived from the earlier G-3, the new GX brings many updates to suit American pilots, including a new Sensenich ground-adjustable propeller. A large baggage area aft of the pilot is accessed by removing the pilot seat.|
What’s The Difference?
While G-3 sold more than 250 copies, performing well for European pilots for years, the arrival of the U.S. LSA market spurred fresh development. After a proper gestation period, the GX landed in America in time for EAA AirVenture 2008.
Ferguson clarified the differences between G-3 and GX, explaining that the new arrival bears a clear lineage, but is a genuinely different airplane. Whereas G-3 had parts fabricated in Poland, all components of the GX are made in Germany.
Foremost in the new features is a replacement of G-3’s partially fabric-covered wing; GX uses an all-carbon-fiber construction. “Remos engineers built new test fixtures and sandbagged the wing to destruction,” Ferguson explained. “The first wing was overbuilt and held 15,000 pounds of static weight; it was lightened because the wing was much stronger than it needed to be.” Among the refinements, Remos built a landing light smoothly into each wing’s leading edge.
The wing strut shed its former jury strut, and the main structure is now a larger-diameter chrome tube that’s faired for aerodynamic and cosmetic reasons. Remos also replaced the plain flap with a slotted one to increase lift efficiency.
GX’s fuselage is also built of carbon fiber. Remos added a dorsal fin that straddles the fuselage as it joins the vertical stabilizer. On the smaller ventral fin, a fixed-position tailwheel acting as a landing skid has been converted to a tiedown. (Wing tiedowns will also be added, though they weren’t installed on the article aircraft.)
The older G-3 model had a very visible seam where the fuselage boom’s left and right halves were joined. GX uses a two-inch, nearly invisible lap seam that’s glued to the opposite component; the new method looks more polished, though it can hardly be any stronger.
“The interior structure—the number of bulkheads—was also beefed up,” added Ferguson. “But the airplanes weigh the same, which is really amazing. The visible things—like the cowlings, the firewall and such structures—use the same design as the G-3.” The trim surface on the left side of the elevator is now a seamless construction with nylon providing the hinge action.
The GX continues to use the Rotax 912S powerplant common among LSA, but Remos has replaced the earlier Woodcomp propeller with a ground-adjustable Sensenich prop with a nickel leading edge.
At this writing, Remos was set to introduce a further-revised GX at the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in January. Changes to the new interior include new panel-surface materials, two-tone paint scheme, “wall-to-wall” floor carpeting, door padding and optional two-tone leather seats. The updated interior is complemented by fresh exterior paint schemes and a three-blade Neuform prop (standard with the Aviator II package; optional on the Explorer and Aviation I packages).
|The fully loaded GX features Dynon EFIS-D100 and EMIS-D120 instruments with Garmin radios, transponder, GPS and avionics switch panel.|
In its 46.8-inch-wide cockpit—now Kevlar-reinforced for increased occupant safety—GX uses Dynon EFIS-D100 and EMS-D120 glass instruments with Garmin radios, transponder, GPS and avionics switch panel. For GX, Dynon provides an angle-of-attack indicator with an audible warning that can be heard through headsets. Contrary to most producers, Remos stacks both Dynon screens in front of the pilot with the analog gauges facing the right seat. For repair service, the GX panel is composed of four segments that can be easily removed.
GX retains G-3’s dual throttles so both pilots can keep their right hand on the joystick while operating the power with their left. “We have a baggage area aft of the pilot’s seat that’s large enough to accommodate a full-sized golf bag,” boasted Ferguson. To access this baggage area, the pilot seat must be removed, thus in-flight access isn’t possible. A hat rack area, however, permits occupants to carry a few things that can be reached while aloft, and map pockets are built into the doors. When seated in the cabin, it’s easiest to reach under your leg to find the large door handle. The seats offer a three-position adjustment, although you must do this while still outside the aircraft. Additionally, fresh-air vents are complemented by window vents that pull back and then push out on an angle.
The attach point for the shoulder belt was moved to a stronger bulkhead location, and the seat belts are constructed with strategically placed cords that substitute as gust locks for the joystick.
On Wings Of Carbon
“Remos engineers started with the basic aerodynamic design of the airplane,” explained Ferguson about the decision to replace fabric covering with a solid surface. “The entire wing is completely different: it’s now an all-carbon-fiber structure. The wing has a different taper ratio and has approximately one less meter of span.
“GX flies so much better than the G-3,” Ferguson added. “You can’t knock the G-3, as it was a good design, but it’s like a kite, very lightly loaded, and you never used flaps in higher-wind landings. GX has a heavier wing loading and penetrates better.” That’s one way of saying it was changed to suit the American piloting experience. Later this year, Remos will offer all-new landing gear (made of chromoly steel, which the company says is much sturdier) and easily removable wheel pants that can fit oversized tires. “Roll rate is better and landing characteristics are better. In all, GX is a major improvement,” Ferguson asserted.
For landing, Ferguson advised using 40 degrees of flaps in normal conditions, 15 degrees if it’s a windy day. We used the smaller deployment on a pleasant summer day in Oshkosh. Our arrival over the runway was planned at 55 mph.
I used 3,800 rpm abeam the numbers, adding 15 degrees of flaps once below 80 mph. You have to give the slippery GX time to slow down; it doesn’t happen automatically. If needed, as you closely monitor your speed, GX can perform a deep slip. Ferguson explained that the lower the speed and/or the higher the bank angle, the greater the descent rate.
Many European pilots start their training in sailplanes, so long-gliding aircraft are consistent with their experience. The Remos G-3’s glide angle was a flat 17:1 and its sink rate was 400 fpm. To better match the American pilot experience, GX was designed to land in a shorter distance with steeper approaches; glide ratio is 10:1 and sink rate is 700 fpm.
We did a performance takeoff on one of our takeoff-and-landing examinations. Lowering 15 degrees of flaps, you add full throttle while applying full brakes. This achieves ground break in less than 200 feet, though a normal-procedure launch requires about 500 feet.
As I maneuvered the GX aloft, I found that throughout steep turns, the updated Remos felt very solid and secure. The handling is light enough to keep physical effort low, but it doesn’t surprise you with too-fast responses.
Power-off stalls were nonevents with the Dynon showing speeds down into the high 30s before a mild stall break occurred. Accelerated stalls, slowed to full aft stick at 40 degrees of bank, automatically rolled to level in both directions.
If you’re so inclined, you can open GX’s doors when you’re flying under 65 mph, but you can remove the doors and operate the aircraft up to 90 mph. Are you up for a little breeze on your knees?
When you’ve wrapped up your day of flying, you can take advantage of a feature rare to GA aircraft: folding wings. This can help lower costs with less hangar space or the use of a trailer for storage.
|When the wing structure changed, so did the flap. It now offers a generous 40 degrees of extension.|
Gee Whiz GX
Priced at $116,500, the basic Remos GX includes standard flight instruments, a VSI, a Garmin SL 40 radio and a Garmin transponder. GX comes standard with a night VFR package including position lights and a strobe light atop the tail.
The loaded version—which comes with a $135,500 price tag—includes goodies such as the dual-screen Dynon EFIS-D100 and EMS-D120, Garmin SL 40, Garmin SL 30 NAV/COM, HSI expansion module and removable Garmin 496 GPS. Those who don’t want all-glass may select electric-powered analog gauges. You can also add an autopilot, an airframe parachute, leather seats and an upgraded transponder. If you opt for a parachute system, it will be mounted centrally between the seats on a bulkhead behind the cabin area.
At this writing, the Remos GX is ranked #5 in U.S. LSA sales. Seek out a Remos dealer and make your own evaluation. Visit www.remos.com.