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Hello Everyone:

 

I hope everyone is safe and we're all dreaming about flying.  I just signed up and I'm interested to learn about Sport Cruisers.  I'm looking for a modern design and fuel economy trainer.  I have 2 sons and daughter.  I soloed my oldest boy in a glider about 2 years ago and I want him to get a Private pilot certificate before leaving for college this summer.  My youngest is going to be 12 soon, so my kids very in size; and my middle son is over 6 foot and my daughter will lucky to be over 5.  I have not flown these aircraft, how adjustable are the seats and pedals?  I have flow a Rotax and I understand these motors are life limited compared to other traditional aircraft engines.  Would an Examiner fly in a LS if the engine is past it's Service Life?

I have an exotic car to trade, if someone is interested.

Thanks, and Happy Easter!

Marshall

 

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Marshall,

The cockpit is surprisingly wide and roomy for an airplane of this size, I don't think it will present a problem for you.  The seats are fixed but the pedals are adjustable and fit most people pretty well.  I am a "leggy" 6' tall and do not extend them to the maximum.  The useful load varies from airplane to airplane, and the older ones (particularly those without the BRS (parachute)) seem to be lighter, and the newer ones seem to be on the heavier side.  On average you can expect in the neighborhood of ~460 lbs of useful load for your pilot, passenger and fuel.  Say you have a pair of 200 lbs guys, you will have to settle with 10 gallons of fuel to remain at or below max gross weight.  

Some DPE's will not fly behind a Rotax period, whether it is within TBO or not.  Some will not go up in an LSA.  Others are fine with both, this is specific to each DPE and the FAA does not mandate what they will, or will not, do.  They are basically independent contractors that set their own rates and do as they please regarding with what they will and won't accept for a check ride.   You may want to contact a few local DPE's and see what you find in your area.  In central Florida, we have a few that are usually willing to fly in S-LSA and E-LSA without a problem. 

The engines are "life limited" to some extent, but they are also replaceable with new for a lot cheaper than what a new Lycoming or Continental would cost.  Since they appear to reach TBO in most cases (and many WAY beyond that) I don't consider the rebuild/replace cost to be a huge deal.  

I find the airplanes forgiving and fun to fly in good weather and recently got my certificate in one.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Velocity26 said:

and recently got my certificate in one.

Congratulations Leo on becoming a Private Pilot. Your hard work paid off.

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8 hours ago, Deltafox said:

Congratulations Leo on becoming a Private Pilot. Your hard work paid off.

I had a Great CFI teaching me, the rest was just putting in the time and effort. 

Thanks for your help!

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Hi Marshall and welcome to the forum. Hopefully you've been reading some of the many topics available here as there is a wealth of information on this forum covering all things SportCruiser, good and bad. As Velocity26 pointed out the SportCruiser is very roomy and will accomodate all sizes of pilots. Some here even need a booster seat. This shouldn't be an issue with you or your kids. The adjustable pedals are great, booster seat not included. :D

Where are you located? There may be another member close to you that could give you a demo flight. If you are close to the greater Tampa area there are several owners in this area and I'd be glad to take you flying if you are close. I'm sure any forum member would extent this courtesy. Any reason to go flying is a good one.

The SportCruiser is a great airplane to fly but as a trainer it has its shortcomings, well really just one, the nose gear. It's the most fragile part of the plane and needs to be protected at all costs. Flown properly there shouldn't be any issues. There are upgraded nose gear legs available for a pretty penny, actually a very pretty and shiny penny. :o If you purchase an older legacy SportCruiser (pre 2010) this may need to be upgraded. A thorough pre-purchase inspection would be needed to uncover what the aircraft may need. The plane and the log books will tell you just about everything you need to know. If you need help with this let me know, I'd be glad to assist with what I know. I've owned my 2007 for almost 7 years and know every inch of the airplane, inside and out. 

As far as the Rotax engine being life limited, this is a non issue as long as it's for non-commercial, private use. Once you reach 2000 hours or 15 years you can simply go "on condition". Any DPE should know this. 

As for DPE's, no two are the same. You could search for a light sport DPE and hope he can also do private pilot. Many can. This would alleviate the "Rotax issue" from those older and scared DPE's who dont realize that the Rotax engine is far superior and safer than those old and outdated Lycoming or Continental engines. :P

Here's the FAA list of Sport Pilot Examiners as of April of last year: https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/sport_pilot/media/airplane_examiner.pdf 

Florida seems to have the most sport pilot examiners. That being said I was lucky enough to train in my own SportCruiser at an airport here in Florida with a sport pilot examiner on the field. Great guy and he's on the list posted above. 

Again, welcome and let us know how we can help. 

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Hi Marshall!

Beautiful 456 you've got there!

FWIW, my 13 year old son is approaching 6'2" and has long arms and legs (he gets all the good genes from his mother!) and he fits comfortably in the Sportcruiser.  Me, on the other hand, I'm 5'10" and have a long torso, so I'm the "tallest guy sitting."  I fit in the cockpit fine, though my head is closer to the canopy with about 2 inches to spare.  I don't think room will be a problem in a Sportcruiser.  It actually feels pretty spacious compared to other LSA I"ve been in.

As Shawn and Velocity stated, the Rotax is rated to 1,500 or 2,000 hours for Time Between Overhaul (TBO.)  The extension of the 1,500 hour engines (early build) is about $40 in parts (oil pressure plug screw and spring).  Rotax made a durable engine, and as Shawn stated, you can fly these engines "on condition."  I believe that training in these aircraft require a flight school to adhere to TBO, but as an owner, you can fly "on condition."  The Rotax has performed well beyond 3,000 hours with some owners.

Welcome aboard!

Bob

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Hi Marshall!

If the limited payload suits your mission, you can't go wrong with a well maintained Sport Cruiser and the best way to verify the one you choose is right here in the knowledge shared by the  folks on this forum. My previous 50+ flying years were limited to Lycoming and Continental engines so the high revving Rotax with a gearbox was a leap of faith. I needn't have worried. The Rotax is safer and stronger than any other. It is also simple and forgiving to fly behind.

Your 456 would be an "in the ballpark" trade for a high-time legacy Sport Cruiser if you could find an interested owner. Things I would watch for are:

1. Corrosion / damage anywhere on the nose gear leg or attach points.

2. Unairworthy changes made to an S-LSA such as equipment not authorised by the manufacturer.

3. ADs not complied with such as the AK-451 ELT replacement.

Good luck in your search!

Gary

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Hi guys,

Thank you for the information about Sport Cruisers.  I have not flown a Rotax, but they seem to be very reliable.  I have no issues with them, in fact I like the fuel economy and low costs.  I have been flying professionally for over 30 years and have always had an interest in light European aircraft and this is why I find SCs interesting.  I have attached a picture of my V12 engine that I have spent over 22k to refresh.  I guess I could have bought 2 Rotaxs for that.

Cheers,

Marshall

IMG_9411.jpeg

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Hi Marshall,

LOL - well, actually one Rotax 912 ULS (about $18,800) and the $22K would cover the cost to have it installed and maybe do a rubber replacement.

https://www.leadingedgeairfoils.com/rotax-engines-parts/new-rotax-engines/rotax-912uls-engine.html

Yeah, F-cars have expensive maintenance.  I've had two.  Engine-out maintenance is expensive and required if you want to keep its provenance (and value).  But the chassis tuning is exquisite. 

Lots of great aircraft coming out of Europe.  The Czechs have a history with aircraft manufacturing and technology, so I think they do a pretty darned nice job.  The Rotax engine is well proven and reliable, and it is quite fuel efficient.  Looking forward to a PIREP on your thoughts and experiences with the Rotax!

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On 4/13/2020 at 6:00 PM, rtk said:

Hi Marshall!

Beautiful 456 you've got there!

FWIW, my 13 year old son is approaching 6'2" and has long arms and legs (he gets all the good genes from his mother!) and he fits comfortably in the Sportcruiser.  Me, on the other hand, I'm 5'10" and have a long torso, so I'm the "tallest guy sitting."  I fit in the cockpit fine, though my head is closer to the canopy with about 2 inches to spare.  I don't think room will be a problem in a Sportcruiser.  It actually feels pretty spacious compared to other LSA I"ve been in.

As Shawn and Velocity stated, the Rotax is rated to 1,500 or 2,000 hours for Time Between Overhaul (TBO.)  The extension of the 1,500 hour engines (early build) is about $40 in parts (oil pressure plug screw and spring).  Rotax made a durable engine, and as Shawn stated, you can fly these engines "on condition."  I believe that training in these aircraft require a flight school to adhere to TBO, but as an owner, you can fly "on condition."  The Rotax has performed well beyond 3,000 hours with some owners.

Welcome aboard!

Bob

lets hope yr 13 yr old son thats 6'2" signs a 75 million   3 yr contract with the NBA in eight years and buys you the mansion next to john travolta in his florida airpark.  lol ... maybe get some free dance lessons too.  i am 6'6 and with my headset on i still have an inch of clearance with the canopy. 

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1 hour ago, mikeomaha said:

lets hope yr 13 yr old son thats 6'2" signs a 75 million   3 yr contract with the NBA in eight years and buys you the mansion next to john travolta in his florida airpark.  lol ... maybe get some free dance lessons too.  i am 6'6 and with my headset on i still have an inch of clearance with the canopy. 

He not the athlete in the family, so I don't have that luck.  My oldest leaves for Harvard next year, hence the trade.  I like to kill 2 birds with one stone.

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congrats on yr sons success in life. i purchases my plane new in 2011 and leased in for flight training at two different schools for just over a year and then converted it to private use after that and really enjoy it. always get compliments on its good looks and to me its the most beautiful light sport design out there. i wish i was more mechanically inclined to do routine maintenance and enjoy that too and some owners do just that and get more enjoyment out of aircraft ownership that way. 

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On 4/19/2020 at 1:34 PM, Marshall said:

He not the athlete in the family, so I don't have that luck.  My oldest leaves for Harvard next year, hence the trade.  I like to kill 2 birds with one stone.

Marshall, ditto from me!  Congratulations on your son's success!  HUGE achievement to attend Harvard!  Kudos to him, and to you and your wife!

Right, wrong, or indifferent, my son fits in the Sportcruiser far better than I do!  Despite his height advantage, he gets his mom's Ukrainian genes for long arms and legs and he sits just fine in the cockpit.  Me on the other hand... I just tried out a set of refreshed Bose X headsets that came with my plane.  They work quite well (more on that in another thread), but I had to scrunch down in the seat a bit to not have my head contact the curved canopy, and still have about 1" clearance above my head.  If I continue to use them, I'd want to put something soft on them to prevent damage/scratching to the canopy.

Having said that, I agree with MikeOmaha... I too get a lot of compliments on the ramp, and I really enjoy flying the plane.  I just took it up over the weekend and it was all sorts of fun to perform "vertical social distancing" 😜

 

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