Tuesday 24 October 2017

SPA Panther ZK-PMD at Stratford

Nick Furmage from the Stratford Aerodrome blog caught Mark Dean's new single seat Class 1 microlight SPA Panther ZK-PMD2 (c/n 0044) arriving at Stratford from its base in Feilding last Saturday 21 October.

The Panther arriving at Stratford sans trim.

And a few hours later with nice trim decals added by Gravity Sign and Design Studio of Bell Block in New Plymouth.  Apparently it is fast and climbs like a rocket so the go faster trim will come in handy.

The SPA Panther is a recent design produced by Sport Performance Aviation of Green Cove Springs in Florida.  The prototype first flew on 23 April 2013 and around 16 have flown in the US.  The forward fuselage is constructed from 4130 steel while the rest is from aircraft grade aluminium.  The aircraft can be built from plans or a kit and the undercarriage can be taildragger or tri-gear.  Dimensions are: length 19 feet, wingspan 23 feet 6 inches and a wing area of 93 square feet (with shorter and longer wings available), and the wings are foldable.  Empty weight is around 650 - 750 pounds (295 - 340 Kg) with a MAUW of 1,150 pounds (521 Kg).  The prototype in the US is powered by a 110 HP Corvair conversion but most of the Panthers that have flown have various sizes of Lycoming engines from O-235s to O-320s, with a couple of Jabiru 3300s.  These engines provide pretty spectacular performance with a VNE of 200 mph.

I think we will see more Panthers in New Zealand in the future with at least one other kit in the country that I know of.

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