Do the Wings "Fold" for Transport?
The Aerolite wings do not fold, but the aircraft can easily be disassembled for storage or transport. There is a huge misconception in the light aircraft industry regarding the few aircraft designs that do incorporate wings that fold back. These designs were meant to fold back in 5-10 minutes, allowing the owner to park the plane in a hangar, barn, etc., but NOT to roll onto a trailer and go driving down the road. On most of the folding wing designs, if you fold the wings back and then transport the aircraft without taking additional steps to secure the wings in their folded position, you can damage the wing spars, necessitating a very costly repair. For transport, all light planes are much less susceptible to damage if the wings are removed. The Aerolite wings and tail assembly can be removed for transport or storage in about 20 minutes. Reassembly takes about 30. The control system design of the Aerolite, using Teleflex style cables for aileron, flap and elevator controls, can be disconnected or reconnected in a matter of seconds.
Yes, it is.
It depends on what time of year you order. It normally ranges from 8 to 16 weeks, but can extend a bit longer at peak times of the year.
We have had one used Aerolite for sale since 2012 (we took it on trade from a customer who purchased another aircraft). That one lasted less than 12 hours. You will find that used Aerolites do not come up for sale as often as most other aircraft, because once a pilots gets one he is not eager to sell it.
The vast majority of existing Aerolites were built as Part 103 Ultralights, and do not requite a license to fly. There are some existing Aerolites that were built prior to the implementation of the LSA rule, and those were certificated as ELSA or Amateur Built Experimental aircraft (both of which can be flown with a Sport Pilot license). All newly built Aerolites are built as Part 103 ultralights.
Yes, it certainly can, and we do it all the time. We ship about 90% of the completed Aerolites we build for non-local customers. You are certainly welcome to pick it up if you would like, but most customers find it less expensive in the long run to have the plane delivered. We normally use a company that does nothing but move light aircraft from one location to another in the U.S. The owner is a licensed A&P mechanic, bonded, insured, and the planes are moved in an enclosed trailer. Moving aircraft is their sole job, and they have moved about 100 of them for us. Their rate fluctuates a bit based on fuel cost, and is based on one-way mileage. The current rate is $1.25 a one-way mile for kits, and $1.40 a one-way mile for ready to fly Aerolites.
A kit can also be shipped via commercial carrier (trucking company) for an average of $800-$1,200, depending on what part of the country you are in, plus crating costs.
For international shipments, we ship via ocean freight (crated, and combined in a sea container with other freight), air freight (crated and transported in cargo aircraft) or in a dedicated 20' sea container (we pack all components in an individual sea container here at our facility).
The F-33 or Kawasaki 340 are fine for most guys, and the F-33 is the engine that we use the most. For example, we use the F-33 one one of our demo planes. I am 6' 2", 210 pounds, and I get 650 FPM climb at 40 MPH indicated (stall is 26). Cruise is 55-60 MPH. For larger guys, or higher altitudes, the Rotax 447 and 503 are great options, as is the Hirth 2702.
This is where you should answer the most common questions prospective customers might have. It’s a good idea to cover things like your return policy, product warranty info, shipping and returns, etc. Check out the examples below.
Do You Offer a Stick Instead of a Yoke?
No, we do not. The yoke design on the Aerolite was intentional, primarily to allow the use of high-quality Teleflex style cables for the elevator and aileron controls (they are also used on the electric flaps). The smoothness, lack of slop and positive control surface response with the push/pull cables that we have custom made can not be duplicated with standard aircraft cables and pulleys. If you ever move the controls on an Aerolite, you will see how much smoother our flight controls are than most other aircraft.
Does the Seat Adjust for Shorter Pilots?
The seat itself does not adjust, but we have two ways to compensate for a shorter pilots (shorter than about 5’7”). First, when we build the aircraft for a shorter pilot we move the rudder pedals back 2” towards the seat. Normally, that is sufficient for our shorter owners to comfortably reach the pedals and be able to fully deflect them with ease. If that still is not comfortable for you, then we simply add an additional 1 or 2 inches of 100 pound density foam in the rear seat back to move the pilot a bit closer to the pedals.
Does the Aerolite Need Rudder or Elevator Trim Tabs?
No. The Aerolite design is such that the pilot basically sits at the center of gravity of the airfoil. Unlike many other designs, which must compensate for different pilot weights with trim tabs and/or ballast, that is not the case with the Aerolite. Another great benefit of the pilot seat being located near the CG (and not having to use a trim tab) is increased efficiency of the airfoil.
What Size Trailer is Needed to Transport the Aerolite?
The floor width requirement is 6’ 6” inside the wheel well, and we recommend a length is 16’ (it can sometimes be done in a 14’ trailer, depending on the interior layout, but it is very tight at 14’). The wings need to be suspended in slings against the wall, so the vertical height of the wall above the wheel wells must be a minimum of 4’ plus another foot or so for the straps. And there must be a way to secure the straps to the wall (a rail, hooks, etc.).
Do You Take Trades?
Yes, we do. We take other ultralight, light sport and experimental aircraft (equal, lower or higher value). We also occasionally take trades of these items (again, value can be equal, more or less, with appropriate monetary adjustment either direction as necessary): Classic cars, boats (preferably open bow, weekender or live aboard up to 40 feet in length), motorcycles, rail buggies, vintage camper trailers, motor homes, Class 3 firearms.