Together with a bunch of guys we are getting our bearings on buying a new (or used) aircraft for our flightclub. We have the following candidates:
- Dynamics WT9
- Aquila 210 (of 211)
What are the experiences on:
Space (tall people)
If you have any do’s of don’ts on these aircraft, please let me know.
My club is in a similar situation. We have been looking at the Evektor Sportstar RTC which is not in your list. Any particular reason for not considering it?
I would add the Elixir to the list; at least based on the specs on their website. They also have a rental model as per you rent the plane for 300h p.a. @ 70 €/h which could be interesting & efficient for the club.
I would also look at the Pipistrel series.
Although the PS28 looks nice, it is relatively slow (90kt)?
We use the WT9 for towing gliders. It’s robust enough to do that. In normal configuration it is very fast. It’s also very nice to fly, responsive and quick.
I tried the Sonaca a couple of years back when the factory had a “tour”. From what I remember it was like a BMW :smile. I mean compact, well boltet together. The WT9 is more a pilot’s aircraft than the Sonaca though, IMO.
The Aquila is maybe the best trainer of them from what I have heard, but I guess that depends on what you expect a trainer to be. I have never flown one.
A club close by has sold all Cessnas etc… and got WT9. They are happy. High speed, good handling, low cost.
I’m curious: isn’t a Aquila certified as VLA and thus significantly more expensive to operate (maintenance/parts) than e.g. a WT9?
Instead of the PS28 maybe look into a Bristell? Metal as well, faster cruise.
Yes the Aquila is a VLA and with that depending on your jurisdiction one of the benefits is, that you can have a Night VFR Version of it, which e.g. doesn’t work for ultralights in Germany.
In general I have to say I liked the Aquila as my first trainer and for medium long tours of up to 250nm (due to the missing autopilot). With the Rotax handling is easy, fuel should be unleaded and performance is good, takeoff as well as climb. The flying behavior is superb and with the stick it gives you direct control. Because ours had wheel pants, I didn’t like to operate on grass.
We had 4 Aquila’s in our club over the years and maintenance wise they are OK. However when people land to fast, a typical incident is a broken nose gear from pilot induced oscillation. There are flight schools/clubs that have this frequently, but I think this is lack of training/technique/… to fly the numbers. The only two pain points I remember are first the seat adjustment, which tends to brake, however adverse to Cessna the seat is then fixed and you can’t move it anymore, but if you are too tall, this needs repair before a flight. The second is the electric trim switch which has no mechanical backup. However you can still fly with a broken trim switch, as it is a spring loaded trim only, just annoying to hold the stick neutral.
All those airplanes have stick.
You are looking for a VLA or LSA ?
The only plane in the list I have experience of is the Aquila A210, which my aéroclub had for 10 years from new. I flew it a lot straight after my ppl, mostly local flights and to neighbouring airfields, but also one trip to the south of France. I liked it as the controls are very precise and agreeable, and it’s a good trainer. It’s comfortable, with a wide cockpit and headroom with a headset (I’m 1m88). With a constant speed propeller it takes off well, and needs a surprising amount of right foot for 100hp, but the laminar flow wings badly affect climb performance if they’re dirty. The main reason it was sold is that the instructors didn’t like it, mainly because it was underpowered (words like lethargic, short-winded). The book says it will do 130kt at altitude, but I found it does ~105kt in pretty much all conditions. Compared to the Robins it spent more time in maintenance, and had a delicate nosewheel that isn’t recommended on grass. On the whole I would recommend it for a school or multi-aircraft club.
As has been said before, the Aquilae being CS-VLA can be both an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your CAA’s position on microlight hours counting towards other licenses.
For us in Germany, they don’t, which is why we have two A210 in the club. One is mainly used as primary trainer and has done 17.700ish landings and about 3.900 hours within 13 years. The second one was bought shortly afterwards to offer both a touring plane and add NVFR to the spectrum. Note that not all Aquilae, especially early ones, are equipped for night flying.
The original wheel fairings don’t like grass and dirt, but smaller ones are available.
It’s relatively low drag laminar wing teaches flying by the numbers from day one on. Just chopping power at an arbitrary point and speed and letting the drag do the landing won’t work as it (kind of) does in a Cessna.
I think this is a valuable feature because it teaches energy management early on.
On the other hand, people transitioning from flying Cessnas in the “as long as the round rubber thingies point downwards when you impact”-style tend to bend nose wheel forks.
I do the maintenance on the two planes on the provision of pilot-owner-maintenance, which helps in keeping costs down. IMHO they are easy and fun to work on.
Feel free to ask about any further details!
buying a new (or used) aircraft for our flightclub. We have the following candidates:First thing first, are you targetting a Certified plane or Ultralight? As written above, and until/if the Nov FCL update is implemented in your CAA, these are 2 product groups with almost no overlap.
- Dynamics WT9
- Aquila 210 (of 211)