Saturday 23 January 2010

Something REALLY Different!

On 19 January, R Harris of Temuka registered 2 strange sounding aircraft: ZK-SBW, a Skyboard Coba K Whisper (as a glider), and ZK-SBX, a Skyboard Coba K Black (as an aeroplane). What is a Skyboard Coba you ask? I also had no idea but I did some research and turned up a remarkable story.

The story goes back to an earlier registration: ZK-SBI, a Steelworks Skyboard which was registered as a Class 1 microlight to Skyboard International Ltd of Temuka on 22/2/05. I never took much notice of this but I found the above photo of it on the Skyboard website: It turns out to be "a one person glider that offers a highly manoeuverable alternative to skydiving" that was manufactured by Steelworks Engineering of Temuka which is owned by Bob Harris. There is a link to a Youtube video of it testing and test flying on the website and also at: and it turns out to be a 2.3 metre long capsule with extendable wings that weighs 24 Kg and can glide for about 10 minutes when dropped from a helicopter or aircraft from 12,000 feet, travelling at up to 300 kph. This has apparently been very successful.
So this leads onto the Skyboard Coba K's which are a development of the Steelworks Skyboard that has been developed in close association with Canterbury University and are bigger and better. Here is an artists impression of ZK-SBX, also from the Skyboard website which still looks like a glider to me, so maybe the artists impression should be of ZK-SBW. And then my mind boggles to think of what an aeroplane version would look like! The Skyboard website mentions a "Quantum Leap Coming Soon!"

I guess these aircraft have been a challenge to CAA as to what to register them as they must be pushing the bounds of what an aircraft is! Otherwise why would ZK-SBI be a Class 1 microlight? (surely the wing loading must be more than a microlight?), and then why is ZK-SBW registered as a glider but not with a G registration?

Can anyone out there add any more information to this story?


  1. >> surely the wing loading must be more than a microlight

    There's no wing-loading restriction on microlights.

    But a microlight must have a stall speed of 45kts or less, which may be difficult with a high wing loading.

    It does seem strange to register a glider as a microlight, but there seems to be no requirement for a microlight to be powered.

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  3. It seems that a youtube video has emerged:

    (Previous comment deleted due to a bad link).