Friday 17 March 2023

Thatcher CX 5 ZK-CXV/2

Back in August 2021 a new type of sport aircraft was registered in New Zealand, being the Thatcher CX 5.  We have had three examples of the Thatcher CX 4 registered here, and the CX 5 is a two seat tandem development of the single seat CX 4 (and in the US there is now a 2 seat side by side CX 7).  All of these aircraft were designed by Dave Thatcher of Pensacola in Florida and they are scratch built from plans which results in low costs.  In fact the promotional material claims a CX 5 can be built for under US$30,000 including the engine, instruments and paint.  Dave Thatcher is a retired A & P Engineer in America and he designed the CX 4 in his early 70s for his own use.  However there was an instant demand for the plane after he flew it to Oshkosh in 2004 and he developed his design into plans that he then sold.  The CX 4 was a very successful design and as often happens with things American Dave was receiving requests for a larger version with two seats.  This resulted in design of the CX 5 commencing in 2010 and the prototype first flew in December 2013.

The CX 5 is an all aluminium design that is built only from plans, and the various fairings are fibreglass.  It is 20 feet 6 inches (6.25 metres) long and its wingspan is 28 feet (8.5 metres).  The wing has a slight outboard dihedral and is tapered (a bit like a Jodel but with less dihedral).  Empty weight is quoted as 721 pounds (327 Kg) and the MAUW is 1,320 pounds (598 Kg).  The aircraft was designed as a tri-gear for the American market but can be built as a taildragger.  The prototype was fitted with a Revmaster 2300 engine of 85HP which gives a cruise speed of around 120 mph (104 knots) while the stall speed is quoted as 42 mph (37 knots).

Our first Thatcher CX 5 is Kevin Reed's ZK-CXV2 (c/n 80) that is also the first taildragger CX 5 to fly in the world.  It was registered to Kevin at Nelson on 21/8/21and it first flew on 15/9/22.  It is powered by a 120 HP Jabiru 3300 engine which gives a lively performance including a climb rate of 1,500 feet per minute with one up and a cruise speed of 120 knots.

Thanks very much to Kevin and his wife Shelley for the above photos.

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