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It appears the time for aerobatic Light-Sport Aircraft has arrived. First, we did a video about Tecnam's Snap single place aerobatic aircraft and at Oshkosh 2013, we found the Panther from Panther Sport Aircraft. Using a 100-horsepower Corvair engine, company boss and designer Dan Weseman says the also-single-place Panther can do "mild aerobatics, like an RV-4 can." The new aircraft offers a number of features, which you can catch on our video. Sold as an Experimental Amateur Built aircraft, Panther meets LSA parameters allowing use by a Sport Pilot certificate holder.
At E.A.A.'s Airventure at Wittman Field in Oshkosh, we discovered the Panther, a single place aerobatic-capable LSA candidate. Company owner and designer Dan Weseman provides all the details you want to ask in this video. Pilots can expect a 1,500 fpm climb, fast takeoff, and enough strength for loops, rolls, and perhaps more (but check with the company's recommendations). Sold as a kit but meeting LSA parameters allows use of Sport Pilot certificate and the company will support many aircraft engine to the builder's desire.
The Panther has many seat adjustments. There are 8 settings for the seat bottom -- allowing you to move the seat back forward and aft. The seat bottom is at about a 35 degree angle, so moving it forward also moves the pilot up in the seat. The seat back adjusts in 8 positions to lean the pilots back angle forward and aft. The rudder pedals have 3 adjustments in the cockpit and 3 in the forward fuselage allowing for 9 different positions. With all of this said, we still would like 2 more inches for those super tall guys that have the long torso. We can accommodate even the tallest pilots with the canopy we have now. As you can see from the gentlemen below who were each 6'6″ tall.
Even with all of these adjustments available, we had a few very tall guys with a long torso that hit their head on the top of the canopy. So, while we were near Airplane Plastics Dan and Paul took the Panther canopy over to them for a their review.
Airplane Plastics is very easy to work with and we will see if the height to width ratio is something they can do. They are willing to blow a test canopy for us when we are ready. The issue is their cost is higher than what we are getting currently. We will also be working more with Todd's Canopies. Todd has a canopy already blown that we will be trying as soon as we get back to FL.
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