Historically ultralight flying has been pursued by hobbyists and adventurers who wished to build their own planes and then fly them. Belite Aircraft is a world leader in ultralight aircraft, having delivered seven aircraft and aircraft kits in the first quarter of 2012. What follows is a summary That might be of help to others who build a Belite or adapt a JCV-360. Belite Electronics has a solution: a series of inexpensive, light instruments—less than a half ounce per instrument—that you can install in your ultralight. The Belite Aircraft was developed from the Kitfox Lite aircraft, which Wiebe highly modified.
Currently Belite offers two additional models: The ProCub Lite with CNC foam and aluminum construction, and the UltraCub with CNC aluminum. At a time when budget constraints are driving the US Air Force to divest fighter and attack aircraft faster than they can be replaced with the Lockheed Martin F-35, outgoing chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh says it would not be a wild idea to resume production of an improved version of the F-22 Raptor air superiority jet.
The Superlite uses the exact same fuselage and wing as the Belite 254 standard ultralight model. Add to that a fuel consumption of almost exactly 1.5 gal./hour and things are looking very good for the Belite. By doing this James has reduced the construction cost and weight of the aircraft. You only need to add engine, engine mount, propeller, fuel tank, instrument panel, paint, glue and miscellaneous.
In order to remain with FAR Part 103 parameters, the 50-hp engine is limited to approximately 38 hp to ensure that ultralight cruise speed limitation of 62 mph is not exceeded. That corresponds to the manual recommendation for my air fuel meter and I think I will leave it set at85 for a while to see how the engine responds in longer flights. I deliberately mounted the panel offset to the left in order to have the engine monitor directly ahead of my line of site.
With luck, which history suggests I will need in abundance, the new Belite will be in my shop soon. I fabricated the motor mount adapter plates and ran the engine on a test stand long enough to be certain it was running correctly. My heels must have been hard on the brakes and 50 mph without power does not carry the aircraft completely through flair without stalling. I now have a zero time engine that is back on the airplane and running like a finely tuned sewing machine. The aircraft is painted in Insignia White from Stewart Systems, with multi-colored dots of various sizes floating off the airframe.
To prove the aerodynamic efficiency, this prototype aircraft is built and flies with a minimal 28HP 2 stroke engine, although other engines will also be evaluated as testing continues. For a homebuilt version of the Belite, you’ll be starting these cost computations at just $11,200 for an airframe/wing kit using fully welded components; weld it yourself and save $1200. The twin cylinder engine produces 45 hp, weighs only 84 pounds and uses less than 2 gallons of fuel per hour! The legal maximum weight for an ultralight aircraft with parachute is 278 pounds.
Belite aircraft models are all designed to provide recreational flyers with economically priced, easy to build and operate aircraft that make flying affordable and accessible, even to pilots without any medical or conventional pilot’s license. It was a workout, but eventually the engine started and all was right with the world, one that Wiebe says really should have electric starters. I think James has some further exciting announcements coming up in the next few weeks, so link yourself to his website: Belite Aircraft or to his excellent blog: James Wiebe’s Blog , where he tells it all, warts & all.
The Belite is a comfortable airplane with plenty of leg- and headroom, and effectively unlimited shoulder room—unless you put in the door and window for winter flying. Belite’s new SkyDock features lighter weight, lower cost, and a simpler design that sets a new standard for efficient ultralight Part 103 aircraft. The standard kit includes a wing kit with aluminum spars and aluminum ribs, steel fuselage, carbon-fiber firewall, steel spring main landing gear, steel leaf rear spring, seat belt and shoulder harness, Lexan windshield, fabric, wheels, tires, tubes, etc.
Wiebe also talks about his other models of ultralight aircraft and the numerous variations he offers. It has been replaced and the engine now starts pretty much first time every time. When you only want to know the status of your fuel, and you are critically concerned about the weight, you use a Belite mass sensing fuel probe and an ultralightweight Belite gauge. On a side note, the JCV-360 Walbro carburetors have to run rich in both idle and high range in order to have enough fuel flow in mid range.
The floats are rated for 620 pounds maximum, which means they can be used on any part 103 legal ultralight aircraft. Since then, there have been numerous gross violations of FAR 103 (the so-called fat ultralights”) and there was a grace period, now expired, for converting fat ultralights to Light Sport Aircraft. The aircraft has been engineered to support a new engine, the Polini Thor 250 with water cooling, geared reduction and 36.5 HP. The flight testing has already documented extraordinary takeoff performance. If you want to fly the Belite as an Experimental/Amateur-Built, the maximum empty weight is 300 pounds.
If Belite has truly pulled off a carbon fiber composite float which sells for a reasonable $ amount… wow. The engine started immediately and correctly and I was able to test the changes I made to propeller and flapperon settings. The UltraCub features an aluminum truss tail, which we preassemble at the factory for you, then disassemble for shipping. Damage to the wing caused by very high winds while transporting the aircraft to Texas has been repaired. This makes for a rather delicate balance between tuning for power and keeping the engine cool in level flight (mid range).
The view, the noise, the wallowy air, the occasional wind blast on your shoulder—there was a lot going on. But it was clear that just a few patterns would quickly bring the sensory overload down into the top of the thoroughly enjoyable range. The Belite 254 needs only 30m (100ft) of runway to take off and cruises at 54kt (100km/h). Belite Aircraft, in conjunction with MukTuk Floats of North Vancouver, British Columbia, offers a straight float kit allowing pilots to convert any Belite into a seaplane. But weight is always an issue, as is price—the avionics on many homebuilts cost more than a flying Belite.
While at Sun ‘n Fun 2014, ANN CEO and Editor-In-Chief, Jim Campbell talked with James Wiebe, the President and CEO of BeLite Aircraft. The problem was that the aircraft was too heavy a to be a true part 103 ultralight aircraft. There wasn’t much to do in terms of a runup or checklist and, in fact, the Belite is that nirvana of the fun flier, an airplane with no pre-landing checklist. If the engine starts to run rough as you move up through midrange, LO is too rich.
Belite Aircraft made its first appearance at Sun ‘n Fun in 2010, and its ultralight was named the 2010 Grand Champion Ultralight. He also bought a completed Kitfox Lite that, after being stripped of non-essentials, weighed 294 pounds, including a 95-pound engine. Then I looked at cost again, and ultralight aircraft are cheaper to build, buy, and own. What I want to know is what will the finished aircraft cost and what the entire Kit” will cost. We’ve listened to customer concerns about price, build time and ease of construction.
On our Belite, the radiator cap is high enough to contact the engine cowling when the bottom of the radiator is clear of the air filter that is on top of the engine. Kit manufacturer Zenith Aircraft Company has released a new 360-degree VR short video to showcase its kit aircraft and to promote the rewarding hobby of kit aircraft building and flying light-sport aircraft. The standard Belite Superlite has upgraded features including a recovery parachute and sells for $40,066. I strapped in and attempted to start the engine only to have the battery run itself down to nothing.