Thursday, May 18, 2017

Light aircraft comes to Cottonwood

Owned by Cottonwoodbased Kestrel Aviation, the Wild Sky Aircraft’s Goat is a combination of hang glider, fan-powered go-kart and all-terrain vehicle.

The 80-horsepower engine and fabric-and-strut wings lift the 575-pound aircraft into the air at 45 miles per hour, after a 200-foot runway takeoff. Once in the air, the Goat cruises at about 55 mph and tops out at just under 70 mph. Landing at 35 mph requires about 400 feet of open space.



Thanks to over-large tundra tires and sport-tuned suspension, the Goat can land on a variety of terrain, including desert meadows, fields, beaches and gravel bars. It can also be outfitted, Kestrel Aviation CEO Sid Lloyd said, with pontoons for water access or skis for snow allowing its two passengers access to many backwoods locations typically inaccessible to aircraft.

The Goat features a 16-gallon tank and runs on regular gasoline, averaging about three gallons per hour. Perhaps the most interesting part of the aircraft is the way it’s steered: Unlike traditional planes, it is a weight-shifted craft.

The pilot grips a handlebar that shifts the angle of the wing. For experienced pilots, it takes a couple hours to acclimate, as all of the controls are backward in comparison to traditional aircraft.

Lloyd, who opened up shop at Cottonwood Municipal Airport on Saturday, May 20, said that he founded Kestrel Aviation specifically to appeal to pilots, formerly licensed pilots and would-be pilots who want to apply for the recently designated Light Sport Aircraft license and potentially purchase and license their own aircraft.

Light Sport Aircraft have been defined by the Federal Aviation Administration as two-passenger aircraft that weigh less than 1,320 pounds and reach a top speed of 120 mph. Concurrent with the development of the Light Sport Aircraft license, the establishment of the Sport Pilot license by the FAA allows pilots to “purchase a brand new aircraft and obtain training .... for less than half of what traditional aviation costs,” according to Lloyd.

In addition to the ease of getting both licenses — the Sport Pilot license requires 20 hours of instruction, and the Light Sport Aircraft license allows owners of their aircraft a greater degree of freedom with yearly maintenance requirements — Lloyd said that, due to their low speed and ease of piloting, Light Sport Aircraft is “the safest segment of aviation.”

According to Lloyd, a resident of the Verde Valley for 10 years, Kestrel Aviation is a “one-stop shop” for this new segment of adventurous pilots. The small hangar feature a full FAA-certified Light Sport Aircraft flight center, offering maintenance and condition inspections of 3-axis and weightshift Light Sport Aircraft. Lloyd plans to partner with other Light Sport Aircraft businesses to provide a full range of services.

As to an existing market for adventure trike enthusiasts in the Verde Valley — Lloyd admitted there isn’t one.

“I want to build a market,” Lloyd said, peering around the runway beyond his hangar and speculating about what the airport could be if it were marketed to businesses and pilots more actively. “You guys are sitting on a goldmine here.”

Kestrel Aviation is located at 668 S. Airpark Road, Hangar No. 3 at the Cottonwood Municipal Airport. For more information visit kestrelaviationservices.com.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.journalaz.com

COTTONWOOD – Kestrel Aviation Services is announcing the May 20 opening of a new full-service aviation center focused on Light Sport Aircraft at the Cottonwood Municipal Airport.

Opening day will feature an open house in their new hangar from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. located 668 Airpark Road, Hangar No. 3, and free hot dogs and beverages will be provided.

According to a press release from Kestrel Aviation Services, the FAA recently created a special category of aircraft and pilot licensure called Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). With this new category, pilots can purchase a brand new aircraft and obtain training for a Sport Pilot licenses for less than half of what traditional aviation costs, “opening up the thrill of flying to tens of thousands of new pilots. Existing pilots, who are no longer active, can now renew their love of aviation for a fraction of what it used to cost.”

Kestrel Aviation Services provides a “one-stop-shop” for LSA adventure, stated the release. Featured will be a full FAA LSA certified flight center, providing maintenance and condition inspections of all 3-axis and weight-shift LSA aircraft.

“They are also Factory Reps for Wild Sky Aircraft, manufacturers of the incredible new LSA heavy-duty “Goat” weight-shift adventure hike. And they partner with other LSA businesses to provide a complete LSA pilot experience,” the release explained.

Sid Lloyd, CEO of Kestrel Aviation Services, said, “We are so excited to bring a new type of affordable aviation to the Verde Valley area. And it’s fun!”

Light Sport Aircraft have been defined by the FAA as two-place aircraft weighing less than 1,320 pounds with a top speed of 120 mph, said the company, adding that their lower weight and lower design speed make them more affordable than traditional aircraft.

“The FAA worked with industry experts to develop a faster and more affordable certification process for LSA aircraft in order to accelerate development and cut cost. There are already more than 150 models of LSA aircraft on the market from which to choose,” stated the release.

Along with the new LSA category of aircraft comes a new type of pilot license: Sport Pilot. A Sport Pilot license requires passing an FAA knowledge test, and a minimum of only 15 hours of dual instruction plus 5 hours of supervised solo, said the company. This is half of what is currently required for a full Private Pilot license, the release stated.

“The limits for a Sport Pilot include no night flight, carrying only one passenger, and not flying higher than 10,000 feet. Since there are such limits, it is much easier to learn what you need to know to obtain a Sport Pilot license. And, you don’t need an expensive FAA medical certification. All you need is a valid driver’s license,” stated the release.

Total training cost for a typical Sport Pilot license is under $6,000, said the company. Existing Private Pilots can fly LSA aircraft as Sport Pilots without a medical certificate if they have not had their last medical revoked by the FAA, opening up aviation to thousands of existing “rusty” pilots, the release stated.

“Sid Lloyd started Kestrel Aviation Services after a successful executive career with Fortune 100 companies and was most recently CEO and President of a large non-profit based in Oklahoma. He shares his love of aviation with his wife who is also a pilot. They have lived in the Verde Valley for 10 years,” stated the release.

About Kestrel Aviation Services

Kestrel Aviation Services is a full-service Light Sport Aviation center focusing on Rotax equipped Light Sport Aircraft. They are located at 668 S. Airpark Rd, Hangar #3 at the Cottonwood Municipal Airport (P52) and can be contacted at www.kestrelaviationservices.com

Original article can be found here:  https://www.verdenews.com

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