While more and more aircraft dealers and manufacturers are moving into the
new Lightsport Aircraft field, there is a group that has decided that
their market is the true Part 103 single place ultralight.
simple, grass roots, affordable, fun flying segment of aviation has had
another entry into it's ranks Raven Soaring Trikes.
Bob Corbo has been hang gliding for over 25 years, and began flying
trikes in the early 80's. In the the late 90's he began development of
the Raven Soaring trike, and started offering the trike to the general
public in 2004.
The Raven Trike underwent it's public introduction at Sun N Fun 2007,
with 16 units sold and now flying. Bob indicates "we went through a lot
of motors in the past, but have found the little F33 Hirth to be a super
little motor and seems to be the package we needed, with more horsepower
than we really need to fly!"
The Raven Trikes are specifically designed as soaring trikes, but can
be taken off from very short fields. Pilot's can power on up and then
shut the engine off to soar, but since the F33 is equipped with electric
start, pilots have the ability to restart in flight to continue soaring.
Being specifically designed for soaring the Raven Trikes are very
unique in design and construction. The whole unit with engine, electric
start and trike can easily be lifted by the pilot.
The design has eliminated one of the front down tubes, found on most
trikes, and instead uses a very strong mast to support the wing. The
basic Raven trike can come with or without a fairing and is capable of
carrying pilots from 120 to 260 lbs.
In development of his line of "Nano trike" Bob had found that heavier
pilot weights effect how the wing and trike interact with each other. To
compensate for this has built adjustability into his design, in the way
the mast is mounted and in the length of the base tube.
Bob seems to have his finger on the pulse of the ultralight trike
market. At Airventure he had on display what he believes will be the
next generation of trike airframes, the electric powered trike.
To this end he has designed a very light trike unit that is set up
specifically to work with batteries and an electric motor. The battery
packs would be located where the current gas tank is. However the
current units weigh in about 80 lbs. Ideally a 40 lbs battery pack would
be the ideal set up.
He expects that this type of power unit will be commercially viable
within the next year.