Temecula, CALIFORNIA / December 16, 2013 - Quicksilver Aeronautics announced it has completed the entire flight test regimen required to comply with ASTM industry consensus standards that the company expects will lead to FAA acceptance. With an FAA audit occurring before Christmas, Quicksilver would love to unwrap a very special present by getting approval from the agency. Quicksilver has produced more than 15,000 kit-built aircraft since the early 1970s; this will be their first Special Light-Sport Aircraft.
"We completed an entire ASTM Design & Performance standard test matrix that demands more than 100 hours of test flying," said Daniel Perez, Chief Operations Officer for the California company. He also noted that those flight hours involved 236 takeoffs and landings. These results follow a long period of other detailed testing and significant document preparation and arranging the factory for repeatable, quality-controlled production of ready-to-fly aircraft. The Sport 2S, a strutted, open cockpit, side-by-side two seater is the first to complete the entire compliance package but the company is also underway for their GT 500 aircraft. The latter was the very first aircraft to win FAA Primary Category approval 20 years ago, in 1993.
"We also had to demonstrate dive speed condition, which calls for flight greater than Never Exceed speed for the Sport 2S model," observed Perez. Takeoffs and landings were demonstrated in cross winds beyond 15 knots. In addition, Sport 2S stability and control were demonstrated without problems over the full Center of Gravity range." To achieve this, more than 50 stalls and 20 spins were performed with no abnormal characteristics.
"We caution our tens of thousands of users that these are functions performed in a test environment and such excess speeds and maneuvers are expressly prohibited in normal operation of the aircraft," indicated Todd Ellefson, a highly experienced Quicksilver pilot who flew the 100 hours of testing.
"The pilot and platform handled well throughout the testing. We put the airplane through some hard maneuvers and some really hard landings. Everything went as planned. It was particularly interesting to watch this aircraft in a spin," reported Severin Kempf of engineering consulting firm, Streamline Design. Kempf worked on the extensive flight test program with Quicksilver's Ellefson and added that Todd "was really good to work with on the flight testing."
"Our success in achieving these solid results prepare us for a visit from several FAA officials scheduled for later this month (December 2013)," said Quicksilver Aeronautics President, Will Escutia. "If we gain the approval of the agency we are prepared to swiftly put the Sport 2S into production as a fully-built aircraft."
FACTS ABOUT QUICKSILVER AERONAUTICS
Quicksilver Aeronautics, under new ownership since 2012, is the most prolific builder of light aircraft kits in the world, with more than 15,000 units flying. Quicksilver builds the MX series including the Sprint, Sprint II, Sport, Sport II, Sport 2S and the GT series including the single seat GT 400 and the two place GT 500. All aircraft models have successfully been included on FAA's approved-kit list. The GT 500 is the first aircraft approved by FAA under the Primary Aircraft category (1993) and work is underway to gain FAA acceptance of the Sport 2S and GT 500 as Special Light-Sport Aircraft. Quicksilver has dealers throughout the USA and the world with thousands flying in nearly 100 countries. The brand has an enviably good safety record owing significantly to exceptional ease of flight, thorough engineering, and long experience dating to the early 1970s.
Departments include work shops for avionics and engine installation, composite repairs and painting, plus final assembly after receiving major components from another division outside Germany.