Sky Arrow 600 Sport
Sky Arrow 600 Sport Pilot Report
Report Courtesy of www.bydanjohnson.com
CLEAN DETAILS - Even the strainer drain is neatly tucked away behind a door similar to the fuel door on your car.
Once cleared by the tower, I moved the throttle forward to the stop in one smooth motion and the 912 began our acceleration. Since the Sky Arrow I flew was equipped with the 80-hp Rotax, full-throttle acceleration was a bit underwhelming.
The light sport aircraft with the 100-hp Rotax 912S is said to perform demonstrably better. The effect of 25% more power significantly shortens takeoff roll (to under 500 feet), and boosts climb rate (to more than 1,000 fpm).
Lifting off the tarmac requires only slight back pressure, not even that if you have adequate runway ahead. I estimated the ground run, even with the lower power and heavier Sky Arrow used for my evaluation, was 600 to 700 feet. My takeoff technique was normal without using soft- or short-field techniques. The more powerful Sport 600 model is said to break ground in less than 500 feet.
Normal takeoffs are done with 10° of flaps and rotation comes at around 45 knots (52 mph), depending on loading. As the typical climb speed of 65 knots (75 mph) is also the best glide speed, it would be easy to maintain best glide speed in the event of engine failure. After stabilizing climb in warm conditions, you shut off the cooling fan switch. You can also turn off the auxiliary fuel pump at that time.
The Sky Arrow's rudder is so powerful you can make a very enthusiastic slip to generate a 2,000-fpm descent rate. Hawkins, a CFII, says he's never run out of rudder. The flaps will prove enough for most situations but being able to hold a controlled high-rate descent can be valuable in some situations.
"The Sky Arrow power-on and power-off stalls were very modest affairs"
I performed landings with 20 and 30° of flaps. The airplane is very easy to land as long as you get down low enough to the ground and then hold off. Hawkins complimented my landings but I think most pilots new to the Sky Arrow may also do well. Overall, this is one well-behaved airplane.
The side yoke brings easy adaptation, at least for me. I have flown a number of aircraft with this configuration so I can imagine a Cessna-only pilot might find it odd at first. But I believe familiarization time is measured in seconds, not flights.
I call it a side yoke as it moves fore and aft like a yoke, but uses a wrist movement rather than wheel turning to effect roll control. The left and right cockpit rails are beautifully positioned to rest your forearm as you work the side yoke or other controls. Most pilots will quickly become comfortable with the cockpit layout.
The Sky Arrow I flew registered climb at 600 to 700 fpm at 65 knots (best rate of climb, or Vy) on a pleasant, cool day near standard atmospheric conditions. Remember an 80-hp Rotax 912 powered this Sky Arrow. Install the 100-hp Rotax 912S and the Sky Arrow would turn into a strong climb performer with climb rates beyond 1,000 fpm.
The Sky Arrow power-on and power-off stalls were very modest affairs, occurring at about 40 knots indicated, perhaps a shade less. In all trials in the Sky Arrow I flew, the right wing tended to drop with some suddenness, but rudder power was more than sufficient to control the action.
When the engine is at idle thrust, Sky Arrow can achieve a claimed 12:1 glide, measurably better than most general aviation planes and much better than older ultralight designs.
Overall, the Sky Arrow was a very easy airplane to fly, executing precise turns that should make maneuvering and cross-country flying a joy. It is sufficiently stable for long-distance flights, but maneuvers well enough to qualify for the "sport" in light sport aircraft. Balancing the good news is that you'll travel more leisurely, not zipping along like some LSA. The Sky Arrow cruises at around 100 knots where a few brands reach the 120-knot limit under LSA rules.