Looks like an interesting aircraft. Good luck to them.
You get used to the idea of a Rotax up front. Admittedly mine is a 912S (certified) but I'm guessing that just gets me the privilege of paying more for parts, should I ever need a major repair. Meanwhile, it runs cooler and smoother than my old Lycs and Continentals with lower maintenance costs (so far).
I'd quibble a bit with Sunfish's generalization re low wing LSAs. Having been mainly a Cessna and Comanche driver all my flying life, I find no issue with the Tecnam P2002JF. Clearances and control authority are good, beyond the point of the demonstrated 22 kt crosswind. I would say the Sportstar, nice as it is to fly, is a bit extra delicate in a few areas. None of the LSA or certified derivatives I'm familiar with are as tough as the considerably heavier GA machines but, if the Brumby folks are closing the gap a bit, that's great.
By the way, a flying school owner here in WA who uses a Sportstar tells me that the incidents, of which there have admittedly been a few, are always with 'old school' GA pilots at the helm. His new students have not clocked up any embarrassments. I took this as a subtle warning to avoid being a boof-head and was grateful for the 'try before buy' opportunity before taking the LSA leap.
rookie, It looks better up close, and how they manage the cruise speed achieved means it is aerodynamically slick. Anything that fits me, and somebody else the same size (185 cm, 125 kg) in comfort, not possible in a C-152, gets my vote. The fuel fillers look a bit odd, but no chance of ever getting water in the fuel parked in heavy rain -- nice little touch. Tootle pip!!
Yes, I have flown both the Rotax 912ULS and the 0-233 Lycoming models.
The Brumby is, above all its'other attributes - easy to access, really roomy,with good adjustable seats making for a good outside view. It has a strong undercarriage and rolls over rough grass with less rumble than a C182. The Brumby has quite a high wing - about the same as a C172. The ample keel surfaces create good airborne pendulum stability. The large rudder allows for plenty of control in crosswinds.
Both engines give a brisk acceleration in the nil flap configuration - but I think a 12-15 degree take-off flap position would improve the ground run component. I did a few go-rounds from touchdown, and with full flap we were up and away in a very short distance. I think with more testing the POH might reflect my findings with flap use.
Climb was good with both engines, perhaps the Lycoming was a tad better. Anyway, we saw 700-800 fpm at 80KIAS and you'd be happy with that in a trainer.
The Brumby's sloping away nose needs watching in the cruise setup. Sitting up a little higher made it easy for me, but height challenged might need some seat adjustment. It tends to continue the climb unless you hold it level referencing the altimeter. The claimed 110 KTAS looks realistic at altitudes over 5000, but at lower levels, and 65% power settings it looked more like 105 KTAS. The Lycoming unit that I flew was several kts, (5-6?) faster than the Rotax, but then you need to consider the fuel consumption. They'll vary a lot as some will have large tyres, and be heavier than others.
The Rotax should burn about 18 LPH, while the 0-233 Lyco will likely burn 20-22 LPH. When they get one fitted with a Rotax 912iS driving a new composite 3-blade ground adjustable Sensenich - expect about 15-16 LPH.... if we can believe the advertising!
The Brumby has a nice positive feel in flight - rods instead of cables? It felt more like a mid weight C172 than its' competitor the Jabiru or a C152. It stalls benignly, and can turn on the proverbial penny if you keep the speed back in the 60's with some flap out. Now I'm a long time low level trainer, and although I didn't manage to try this in the Brumby, I'm thinking that it will be very manageable for this type of operation. Might need a bit more air venting capacity - but that's it.
I found it a very easy aircraft to decelerate and retrim with the nicely located Cessna type wheel on the top of the centre console. Holding a 60 KIAS approach down final left me plenty for the flare. It doesn't need much power to hold a 500 fpm approach using full flap. It has a nice stable feel on final and no doubt it will do a very short landing if pulled back to around 50 KIAS.
The mentioned empty weight of 345 kgs applies to the Rotax ULS, and the Lycoming is about 25 kg heavier. But, many new owners are stuffing them full with autopilots and whatever other gadgetry appeals - leaving only about 225 kg of available load. Full tanks of 140L is 100kg, so it only leaves room for a couple of jockeys! For most local flying you are never going to need 7 hrs endurance, so there is hope for heavier people. If the Rotax 912iS delivers on its' promise of 15-16 LPH, then there'll be little need for filling that 140L. There's no other way to keep the EW down because everyone wants the airframe and undercarriage to remain the way it is - strong!
Now there's been a lot of talk about the high wing Brumby being more stable in cruise, and able to handle turbulence better than its' competitors. Well, it is quite stable, but perhaps this is due to it's height from wing to wheel giving a stronger 'pendulum' damping. However, based on it's stalling speed of sub 45 KIAS - the Va for the aircraft is likely to be no more than about 85-90 KIAS - ie, approx 2x the Vs. This means it's going to be well above Va in normal cruise, and I'm interested in this aspect because we all bash through a lot of rough air in our LSA types.
That's just a few impressions, and I trust they're helpful. Do I think it will be a good trainer - definitely, it's strong, roomy and performs. As a private aircraft, with a new 912iS fitted it will be as capable as most 172's where the rear seat is rarely used.
Thanks for the review poteroo, very interesting read!
One thing to remember with the Rotax and ground adjustable prop is that you can't set it too coarse (for cruise) as at wide open throttle you must make a minimum RPM or damage the engine. So even if it could climb faster (until the break the engine that is) you will need to go for a shallow climb / higher airspeed to keep the RPM up. At Vy, you won't make the required RPM...
If you can, I would fit an inflight adjustable prop. But...
LSAs can't have an IFA prop, so you'd be back to normal ultralight rules. For it to then still be 600 KG and 24 registered means there needs to be a non-LSA type certificate that says it's 600 KG.
It's a can of worms and causing the RA-Aus tech manager a lot of headaches at the moment as many of the LSAs fitted with an IFA prop only have a European 450 KG type cert.
It's all bullshit as the aircraft doesn't care what a piece of paper says, but them's the rules...
Based on my Sportstar experience, low wing LSAs are not practical aircraft for Australian conditions. We ended up totalling Two of them and a Third had major damage - just a wee bit too delicate and that wing is too close to the ground for reliable crosswind use. The Sportstar would run out of aileron authority if you weren't very careful.
Where do you have that experience? As a SportStar owner, I beg to differ...
I know RVAC keep breaking them, probably trying to fly them like a Cessna. At Aldinga they have had 3 of them running non stop every day for the better part of a decade and never any major damage, AFAIK.
I have certainly landed mine regularly at 15+ knots cross wind without problems. (Avalon East on Friday morning was fun!)
Wingtips get scraped from time to time, but that's easily patched up.
The landing gear is one of the toughest in the business and the bonded + riveted airframe lasts very well.
In short: If you are regularly breaking SportStars in training, you are doing it wrong.
Bas yes, aware of the small disadvantage with coarser pitch settings. My Superior IO-360 RV9A is running an 87 inch pitch Sensenich and I climb out at 110-115 KIAS which gives me a good 2400 RPM and 1000 fpm climb. At the Vy of 95 - it labours a little.
The pitch variation from a standard 85 inches was a result of considerable in flight testing - sending the data to Sensenich - and having them suggest an increase in pitch to enable the engine to stay at redline 2700 in straight and level with W-O-T.
It's a question of what type of operation you plan for the aircraft, and for training in the Brumby it would appear smart to fine the pitch for better R-O-C and a slower cruise in the circuit.
Bas, having defended low-wing LSAs (see earlier post), I wanted to make sure I understood what you wrote. Are you referring to wing scrapes during crosswind landings, or general wear and tear? I'd regard wing scrapes during landings as unacceptable, being one step away from disaster in easy-to-imagine circumstances. It'd surely represent a point at which the crosswind 'demonstration' failed.
The more likely cause is turning too fast, too tight, but I have no doubt it's happened during stuff-ups in crosswind landings from time to time. You can do it properly at over 20 knots and not have it hit the ground, but if you don't - can't fix stupid.
The way the wingtip is designed, there is zero chance of the leading edge digging in and flipping you, which I guess is what you are imagining. All the damage I have ever seen it at the trailing edge.
There are so many ways different aircraft (low or high wing) ground loop, exit the runway, tip over or otherwise during stuffed up crosswind landings that thinking the SportStar is worse than any other LSA would be foolish.
OK..I see what you're saying. Not have flown the SportStar in high crosswinds I can't comment, but I'm prepared to believe it's no worse than anything else out there. My comment was really that a scrape in the landing was a serious event - not something to take lightly.
It certainly does happen, though. Two C172s at my home field here in WA both had landing accidents as the result of loss of control in the God-awful north westerlies we get in summer. Both had prop strikes, and the requisite bulk strip. One has very clear wingtip scrape damage. We know there's no excuse of course: either poor technique or poor judgement, but it's hard to say that without sounding sanctimonious. And there but but for...
With my P2002 I don't worry about wing tip strikes but, with a very strong crosswind from the left and no differential braking, I definitely look for the lowest acceptable approach speed on the day, giving the minimum time with the nosewheel steering inactive. Otherwise, the weather-cocking tendency is pronounced. Crosswind from the right is not so bad, with more rudder authority maintained with gusts up to silly numbers. It adds up to knowing the limits, I guess. I don't mind admitting that the 'little' aircraft has reminded me of a few hometruths about handling that often get lost in other circumstances.
If you manage to get a C172 wing on the ground, it must be serious! That would be one huge bank angle...
The SportStar has a coupled nose wheel, but the travel is very short, nothing that will get you in trouble if you land cross controlled; it's not going to shoot off the runway. And differential breaking too.
The little ones certainly need to be treated with respect. CASA could do well to (like RA-Aus) have a dual and minimum solo command time requirement for aircraft 600 KG or less.