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KITFOX MK.3

Old 11th Aug 2019, 17:17
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Islay
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KITFOX MK.3

Evening all.

Looking at a Kitfox Mk3 just now, and hoping anyone on here can give me the lowdown - Good, bad, warts and all.
450hr PPL, with time on AA-5, Auster, Jodel and most recently Eurostar.

Many thanks.
beyond the boundary is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2019, 19:41
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Scotland
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Good choice, especially if it has a 912 and spring aluminium gear (Grove or Hammerhead).

Model 3s are much better than Models 1-2, though not as good as Models 4 and above.

912 models seem more stable and are more powerful. You cannot make use of all that power in the cruise because the Vne is still 100 mph but in mine you got a very economical cruise of around 85 mph @ 11 lph. It had a useable load of well over 400 lbs even with the heavier Grove gear so I had to be careful with fuel/baggage load if carrying a heavy passenger (I am around 12 stone).

Under-cambered wing still has a little too much lift for easy landings imho and benefits from the Optima mod (or I am told, chopping the outer bay from each wing!) but wider less bouncy Grove gear or similar helps a lot.

Some experience in a light taildragger is a useful preparation for flying Kitfoxes but, with your experience, you should be alright especially if you avoid big crosswinds on tarmac until you have some Kitfox time.

Remember that the ability to quickly fold (yourself) and take the Kitfox home (or to the airfield) on an open trailer is invaluable. And because of the big balloon tyres, you can also trail it to quite rough and soft farm fields and quickly rig it (yourself) and fly from there. If you search for "Kitfox G-BUPW" in youtube, you can get an idea of how I operated my Model 3 for years.

PS I have now done over 1600 hours in Kitfoxes, with the majority still in a Kitfox Model 3/Rotax 912 with bungee gear.
Forfoxake is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2019, 22:00
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Originally Posted by Forfoxake View Post
Good choice, especially if it has a 912 and spring aluminium gear (Grove or Hammerhead).

Model 3s are much better than Models 1-2, though not as good as Models 4 and above.

912 models seem more stable and are more powerful. You cannot make use of all that power in the cruise because the Vne is still 100 mph but in mine you got a very economical cruise of around 85 mph @ 11 lph. It had a useable load of well over 400 lbs even with the heavier Grove gear so I had to be careful with fuel/baggage load if carrying a heavy passenger (I am around 12 stone).

Under-cambered wing still has a little too much lift for easy landings imho and benefits from the Optima mod (or I am told, chopping the outer bay from each wing!) but wider less bouncy Grove gear or similar helps a lot.

Some experience in a light taildragger is a useful preparation for flying Kitfoxes but, with your experience, you should be alright especially if you avoid big crosswinds on tarmac until you have some Kitfox time.

Remember that the ability to quickly fold (yourself) and take the Kitfox home (or to the airfield) on an open trailer is invaluable. And because of the big balloon tyres, you can also trail it to quite rough and soft farm fields and quickly rig it (yourself) and fly from there. If you search for "Kitfox G-BUPW" in youtube, you can get an idea of how I operated my Model 3 for years.

PS I have now done over 1600 hours in Kitfoxes, with the majority still in a Kitfox Model 3/Rotax 912 with bungee gear.

Thanks for that. I`ve messaged you on social media after watching your videos. :-)
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Old 11th Aug 2019, 22:58
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Scotland
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Originally Posted by beyond the boundary View Post
Thanks for that. I`ve messaged you on social media after watching your videos. :-)
Not on most of the Social Media sites. However, you can pm me here.

PS Phone number on YouTube video no longer mine.
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Old 12th Aug 2019, 06:41
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Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: In the air
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Hey! Don't take this offline! I am also starting to become interested in the Kitfox. My flying is likely to be mostly from small grass/dirt strips above 5,000' MSL and the Kitfox is looking a likely contender. Low operating costs, ability to run on mogas and ability to land slow on rough strips are all very appealing. Altitude makes a turbo engine appealing, but I wonder what the price in $ and flexibility would be.
double_barrel is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2019, 07:04
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Join Date: Jul 2010
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I was going to warn about being over-powered, at least if equipped with a 912 or Jabiru. But you must have known similar in the Eurostar, perhaps? Myself fly an Apollo Fox, a far derivative of the Kitfox; I find it very docile and forgiving. But surely FFX's comments are much more to the point.
Jan Olieslagers is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2019, 14:58
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Join Date: Feb 2000
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I've not flown one (although I have quite a few hours in the very similar Easy Raider and Escapade), but IIRC when the type first appeared in the UK it developed a bit of a "Widowmaker" reputation, that was not present in the USA. I think that this was because the aeroplane has characteristics very different to the club trainer PA28s and C152 most people were getting out of when they bought their Kitfoxes, which has a much lower inertia.

I believe that LAA's Chief Engineer generally advises a few hours in something like a tailwheel Thruster with an instructor, then the Kitfox transition should be very straightforward.

I've reasonable hours in Austers, and would not expect the handling to be all that representative of the Kitfox, so I'd endorse the Thruster advice.

If i flies anything like the Easy Raider, which I suspect it does, I imagine it's a joy to own and fly.

G
Genghis the Engineer is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2019, 15:35
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Join Date: Jul 2014
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Originally Posted by Genghis the Engineer View Post
I've not flown one (although I have quite a few hours in the very similar Easy Raider and Escapade), but IIRC when the type first appeared in the UK it developed a bit of a "Widowmaker" reputation, that was not present in the USA. I think that this was because the aeroplane has characteristics very different to the club trainer PA28s and C152 most people were getting out of when they bought their Kitfoxes, which has a much lower inertia.

I believe that LAA's Chief Engineer generally advises a few hours in something like a tailwheel Thruster with an instructor, then the Kitfox transition should be very straightforward.

I've reasonable hours in Austers, and would not expect the handling to be all that representative of the Kitfox, so I'd endorse the Thruster advice.

If i flies anything like the Easy Raider, which I suspect it does, I imagine it's a joy to own and fly.

G
I agree that flying a Thruster is very good preparation for flying the earlier models of the Kitfox and Avid Flyers and Escapades (no experience in the Easy Raider). By chance, I had several hours on a Thruster before I got my first Kitfox (Model 3) including some as an instrutor. In those days, the Thruster taildragger was quite a common training microlight but it will probably be quite difficult to get instruction in one now (unless you buy one for a few grand!).

Instruction on another taildragger with low inertia should do the trick though. I do not think that the accident rate in Kitfoxes is any worse now than in most LAA types but in the early days there were a lot of accidents in the UK (though very few fatal afaik). As you suggest, this was because many pilots jumped straight from nosewheel Cessnas and Pipers of much higher inertia and tried to fly a light taildragger into short grass strips, which the Kitfox was being advertised as being ideal for. Of course, it is but not without some con​version training.

Much of this does not apply to the later Kitfoxes like Models 5 and 7 (I have never flown a Model 6) which have much higher inertia and are more like a short wing Piper taildragger imho, though still with the magic wing fold!

Having said that, the ideal Kitfox is a 1200lb Model 4 (some are only 1050lb) with 912 which has a better wing and bigger tail surfaces than the earlier models but is not as heavy as the later models. And the Vne is 125mph so you can cruise at 90 knots or more with the 912 engine. For that reason, they rarely come up for sale in the UK.

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Last edited by Forfoxake; 12th Aug 2019 at 15:48.
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