Monday 6 October 2014

Aero Designs/Skystar Pulsars of New Zealand

The two seat Pulsar was designed by Mark Brown and was a development of his earlier single seat Star Lite aircraft.  Both were early composite designs of conventional layout (whereas the more numerous composite designs of the time were Vari Ezes and Quickies).  The aircraft was marketed as a kit by Aero Designs of San Antonio, Texas, and the kit features pre-moulded fuselage halves and bukheads while the wings were of mainly wood construction with foam ribs and polyeurethane covered plywood skins.  Aero Designs sold the Pulsar design to Skystar Aircraft of Idaho, who then in turn sold to Pulsar Aircraft of California, and I think the design is now owned in El Salvador!

The Pulsar was capable of being fitted with engines between 64 HP and 115 HP, and features a cruise of around 180 mph with a larger engine.  Stall speed is around 49 mph.  The length of a Pulsar is 20 feet (6.10 metres) and the wingspan is 25 feet (7.62 metres).  The wing area is 80 square feet.  Empty weight is around 660 pounds (299 Kg) and MAUW is 1200 pounds (544 Kg).

We have had eight Pulsars registered in New Zealand to date, as below.  The early ones were registered as Class 2 microlights in the frustrating era when microlight registrations only had to be applied under the wing.

Our first Pulsar was Les Rushton's ZK-RUS UL model (c/n 325/MAANZ/510) which was first registered on 21/6/94 and was powered by a Rotax 582 engine of 65 HP.  It is photo'd above at the 1999 SAANZ flyin at Ashburton.  It was sold to NC Cleine of Westport on 7/3/05 and he had a couple of whoopsies - it nosed over at Harihari on 6/1/06 and went off the strip at la Fontain on 27/3/06, damaging the prop, undercarriage and tailplane.

It was rebuilt and refurbished by Paul Woodley at Rangiora and sold to TD Sutherland of Christchurch on 20/4/08.  It is currently based at Rangiora where the above photo was taken on 14/10/12.

ZK-KEN (c/n 345), another Pulsar UL taildragger, was built by Ken Rogers of Christchurch and was first registered on 4/8/95.  It was powered by a Rotax 582 engine.  It was sold to GC Main of Christchurch on 9/12/00 then to the Micro Syndicate of Dunedin on 24/4/03 and finally to RE Baker of Palmerston North on 24/4/07.

ZK-KEN is photo'd above on take-off from the 2014 RAANZ flyin at Feilding.

Our first tri-gear Pulsar was XP model ZK-KFC (c/n 403) which was built by the Waihi Aviation Group of Waihi Beach (led by Cliff McChesney), and was first registered on 17/4/97.  It is powered by a 80 HP Rotax 912 engine.  It is photo'd early on in its life at the 1999 SAANZ flyin at Matamata.  It is still owned by the Waihi Aviation Group and is very active around sport aviation flyins in the upper North Island often flown by Cliff McChesney.

ZK-RGP (c/n 509) is a Pulsar II model which was built by R Graham Palmer of Pleasant Point and is powered by a Jabiru 2200 engine.  It was first registered on 24/6/99 and its first flight was on 9/7/99.  It is photo'd above at the 2001 SAANZ flyin at Ashburton.  On 5/9/11 it was sold to DJ Robinson of Timaru.
Pulsar XP ZK-PXB (c/n 456) was built by Brian Anderson at Wellington and was first registered on 30/11/00.  It is photo'd above at the 2002 SAANZ flyin at Matamata.  Brian Andersom later moved to Havelock North and ZK-PXB is now based at Bridge Pa aerodrome at Hastings.

The next Pulsar to be registered in New Zealand was built by Glen Pearce of Virginia USA, and was first registered as N5CT (with a c/n of GP-ONE) in May 1992, making it our oldest Pulsar with a kit number of 36.  It is a Pulsar XP model.  It was imported into New Zealand by Rudi Wenk who was living at Otaki at that time, and was first registered here as ZK-RKW on 29/11/02.  I assume it flew as ZK-RKW because it suffered damage in an accident at Paraparaumu on 11/12/03 which is recorded as to ZK-RKW.   If anyone has a photo of the Pulsar as ZK-RKW, I would appreciate a copy that I could post.

It was re-registered ZK-PRW on 4/3/04 (to make ZK-RKW available for Rudi Wenk's Alpi Pioneer 300 which was registered on the same day).  It is photo'd above at Ardmore on 3/3/07.  It was sold to Michael Strathern of Nelson on 20/4/08.

Finally, Michael Strathern re-registered the aircraft as ZK-OOR on 18/8/11, and he told me that the aircraft is currently being refurbished and that it has not flown as ZK-OOR.

Our seventh Pulsar was also imported from the USA but as an uncompleted project.  It was completed by Les Rushton as ZK-LAA (c/n 153) and was first registered to him on 28/3/08.  It is powered by a 100 HP Italian Simonini Victor 2 engine, and as you can see it has an extended exhaust system.  It also has a steerable nosewheel. It is hangared at Les's property at Yaldhurst, outside Christchurch, but it has flown only around 12 hours to date.

And our eigth and last Pulsar to date is XP model ZK-MIV (c/n 294) which was built in Durban, South Africa by Keith Palmer and registered ZU-KDP.  However it was never flown in South Africa and it was imported into New Zealand by Jerry Savage of Rangiora and  was completed by Paul Woodley of Aircraft Services Ltd over a period of several years between 2009 and 2011.  It was registered to Savco Ltd as ZK-MIV on 13/1/11 and it was test flown at Rangiora on 28/10/11.  The above photo of it was taken at Rangiora on 3/3/11.  It was siold to RA Allan of Tauranga on 11/10/13 and sometime thereafter suffered an undercarriage collapse.  Finally it was sold to PD Cree of Auckland on 13/2/14 with whom it is still current.

I think we are likely to see more Pulsars in New Zealand as there are several kits still out there.


  1. more recent cancellations other than the fletchers........please.pretty please

  2. I am looking for a cheap pulsar or as a project
    Phone: 021 305588 Auckland