Aero Friedrichshafen 2019 Show Capsule


Aero 2019 was held again at Messe Friedrichshafen on the northern banks of Lake Constance in central Europe. The exhibition delivers a consistently pleasing balance of trade fair, camaraderie, progress, esprit de corps, solidarity, and fine cuisine. It lacks the enormity, nay listless spectators and petulant weather, of comparable shows in the U.S.; and that’s just fine with the vendors and punters it’s intended to draw.

Europeans categorically think of General Aviation (GA) as those aircraft not used in scheduled or chartered air traffic, essentially characterizing them as “sport” aircraft with the occasional appendage of “utility.” Much of what might be characterized as purpose-built aircraft in the U.S. are simply folded into sport aviation in Europe, and this is particularly evident at Aero. Style is pervasive, flair dominates, and a strong sense of nationalism and personality distinguish one European offering from another.

Take for example the Blackshape Gabriél. This aircraft is an outgrowth the company’s Blackshape Prime, popular for sport flying. Co-branded with Transavia, Gabriél is a prime example of the crossover between sport and utility as its intended role is training for the airline. Stylish Italian design teamed with Transavia, an Air France/KLM subsidiary, to promote the Gabriél as a flight training platform.

Ultralight aviation also characterizes a large part of GA in Europe where it maintains a distinctly different certification class from the U.S. Aero is dominated by light aircraft. However, at this show this distinction may refer to multiple certification standards, including Ultralight (UL), Very Light Aircraft (VLA), the U.S. standard Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA), and a large number of small EASA CS-23 / FAR Part 23 certified aircraft. Examples include the Blackwing Shark from Sweden,“a type of airplane that flies safe and efficient,” and the Fly Synthesis Syncro LSA and UL from Italy.

General aviation in Europe also flourishes at the intersection of speed and style. More examples at Aero included the Tomark Viper SD4 all metal two seater from Slovak Republic, and the colorful Belmont Patino from Latvia.

AERO Friedrichshafen is “Europe’s largest exhibition for general aviation, and with regard to innovations and premieres, it’s the industry’s foremost exhibition in the world,” said Messe Friedrichshafen CEO, Klaus Wellmann. He speaks the truth with respect to sheer numbers of aircraft at an indoor exhibition, and in particular 1- to 2-place aircraft. The show makes its mark with a dose of European flair, for example, the TL 3000 Sirius by TL Ultralight and the VL-3 Evolution JMB Aircraft greeted visitors with beauty and style.

Aero offers more.

While the most crowded areas at Aero, namely the corridors connecting Halls A3 through A6, were designated for general aviation services, equipment, engines, pilot supplies, and avionics (including Garmin, which is gaining a foothold in Europe) there were many other interesting areas to browse.

Twelve large hangar halls at Messe Friedrichshafen are complemented by an outdoor static display area populated by pre-owned aircraft for sale, a small collection of military and historic aircraft, and the Europa-Park Zeppelin on the adjacent airfield. German military technology was on display at Aero. Inside were search-and-rescue and law enforcement helicopters. Outdoors was a German Luftwaffe Tornado.

Europe loves its gliders, such as the L23 Super Blaník all-metal glider remake. In 2019 the “sailplanes” displays were moved to Hall A1 at main entrance.

Eastern and Western Europe differ ideologically according to Christoph Becker, editor of FliegerRevue magazine, speaking specifically with regards to a fascination for aviation. The East is rife with engineering, design, development and has a long manufacturing history in this industry. For non-German speakers, I was told, the aircraft featured in FliegerRevue provide “aviation eye-candy.”

Junkers Flugzeugwerke from Dübendorf is one of the Swiss aircraft makers represented at the Aero. The company is currently building a second replica of the six-seater Junkers F13, an all-metal transport plane originally constructed in 1919. A recently completed F13 is flying under the Rimowa moniker. The company hopes to produce at least five units of this classic design from original blueprints.

When old and new technology meet, the results are some interesting aircraft that seem to exist without any particular reference to time and place. Those at Aero include the Bücker Bü 133 Jungmeister Liesel Bach on display and the FK12 Comet tandem folding-wing biplane produced in Germany.

Power to the piston

Sustainable and e-flight (electronic flight) continue to be nascent technologies in the aviation world. However, a newly vinted and unusual-looking aircraft featured at AERO was the “flying wing” made by Horten Aircraft from Eisenach, Germany. Another notable design presented at Aero was the vertical take-off and landing e-flyer AutoflightX which, figuratively speaking, plans to elevate transport.

Two sides of the Altantic

North American and European aviators maintain a strong bond. This is evidenced by nearly every vendor at Aero. They are well aware that their market is not limited to one continent. Airplus of Germany, which markets unique products for aircraft performance and customization, is responding to overwhelming demand for installation of ADS-B equipment in the U.S. by providing this capability on business aircraft flown to Europe.

A number of exhibitors at Aero 2019 admitted to being travel-worn, having just arrived from a week in Florida at the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in. Back-to-back shows this year put a strain on personnel. Curiously, though perhaps favorably, the two shows will occur at the same time in 2020 making it imperative that duties be divided, rather than sweeping. Aero Friedrichshafen 2020 will be held April 1–4.

Bearhawk 4-Place Wins New Zealand STOL Championship

AUSTIN, TEXAS, FEBRUARY 12, 2019 – Bearhawk Aircraft announced today a customer-built, and flown, Bearhawk 4-Place aircraft took top honors in the premier New Zealand STOL competition. Jonathan Battson, in his Bearhawk NJB, outperformed all entrants with a combined score of 229 feet (74.1 meters), landing plus takeoff.

Battson’s Bearhawk competed in the Heavy Touring Category (greater than 2,550 lb.) at the 2019 STOL competition. The event’s official title is the “Healthy Bastards Bush Pilot Championships” and is held annually at Omaka Airfield, Blenheim, in New Zealand across the Cook Straight from Wellington. This seventh annual competition, run by the Marlborough Aero Club, was held on Saturday, February 2nd.

Battson built his Bearhawk from a quick-build kit in 2013. It is powered by a 260-horsepower Lycoming IO-540 with a Hartzell Trailblazer propeller. The Bearhawk won this year’s competition by about a 43-foot margin. “This is our fourth season at the contest, and we’ve worked hard to get the best out of the pilot and plane,” said Battson. The trophy has been in his field of vision for some time. In 2014, Battson took 3rd place at Omaka. STOL modifications to NJB include 31-inch Alaskan Bushwheels, vortex generators by Stolspeed, and Hoerner wingtips.

Worldwide, similar STOL (Short TakeOff and Landing) competitions pit specialized aircraft head-to-head. STOL aircraft are designed uniquely for backcountry flying where landing on unimproved strips, and in often difficult conditions, requires short takeoff and landing capabilities. Pilot skill also plays a major role in operating these aircraft in such environments.

Bearhawk Aircraft manufactures high quality quick-build aircraft kits for the Bearhawk 4-Place, and two-place tandem Bearhawk Patrol and Bearhawk LSA. Designed by engineer Bob Barrows, the Bearhawks have in common excellent performance and superb flying characteristics. Bearhawks are known for their short field capability, higher than expected cruise speeds, and very gentle slow speed manners. For utility and recreational use, customers around the world fly Bearhawk aircraft.

For more information on Bearhawk Aircraft, visit www.bearhawkaircraft.com, or contact Bearhawk at info@bearhawkaircraft.com or 1-877-528-4776.

– Bearhawk –

Bearhawk - New Zealand STOL Champion
Bearhawk – New Zealand STOL Champion
Bearhawk - New Zealand STOL Champion
Bearhawk – New Zealand STOL Champion
Bearhawk - New Zealand STOL Champion
Bearhawk – New Zealand STOL Champion

Titan Engine on a Legend Cub

It was at AirVenture 2017 when discussions about an engine swap on a Jabiru-powered Legend Cub took place between myself, Darin Hart, owner of American Legend Aircraft Company, and aircraft builder/owner/operator Rand Siegfried. One year later, I followed up with Rand about “Mickey’s Cub,” nicknamed Ziggy, and its 180-horsepower Titan installation. His reply: “Fantastic! Runs wonderfully, performs amazingly. Only thing wrong is that she is still in Illinois. We have been moving and didn’t have a hangar out here. Planning on some backcountry work next season, stay tuned!”

Rand built the Legend Cub at the company’s facilities in Sulphur Springs, Texas back in 2008 with his daughter McKinley. They took part in the factory’s KwikBild program. While a gift for “Mickey’s” 16th birthday, Ziggy has been flown by many members of the Siegfried flying family.

I was curious of the whereabouts of Ziggy and suggested a new photo shoot with its plumped-up engine cowling. The Titan engine is a derivative of the Lycoming O-360. Its four flat-set cylinders deliver an additional 60 horsepower over the formerly installed, and narrower, 6-cylinder Jabiru block.

Rand provided an incisive synopsis of the engine swap effort: “At Oshkosh a while ago, Darin told me that I’d love the performance of the Titan in a Legend, ‘It is spectacular,’ he said. Our Jabiru powered kit-built Legend, Ziggy, was ready for a change, so I called to ask if we could buy a full firewall forward kit. The answer was something like this: ‘Well we don’t really have a kit, but we could probably make up some parts for you, but you’d be doing a lot.’

Hanging a new Titan engine on one of the Legend Cub
Hanging a new Titan engine on one of the Legend Cub

“During a subsequent call he was obviously thinking as he went along. Legend had never mated their Titan cowling to the Jabiru boot cowl and firewall, so although he didn’t see any reason it wouldn’t fit, there may be some mating issues and building to do as the boot cowl and firewall are a different shape. He then thought about the elevator, more specifically that they have always had a balanced Super Cub style horizontal stabilizer mounted with the Titan and cautioned there might be some issues there. We agreed that since Ziggy is Experimental and as long as I was aware, the evaluation flights should be fine. If there was an issue, I could do something then.”

Creation vs. Construction

In building your business, keep in mind the opposing forces of Creation and Construction. While construction is a fixation on the end game, creation is about how you play the game. Success will depend on both.

The difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists, as the mother can love the unborn child.

– GK Chesterton

Living in the moment

Full Speed Ahead_Flying By
Full Speed Ahead & Flying By

Looking back in anger, or forward in fear, you’re sure to miss the awareness around. Try instead, living in the moment.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

In order to be utterly happy the only thing necessary is to refrain from comparing this moment with other moments in the past, which I often did not fully enjoy because I was comparing them with other moments of the future. – Andre Gide

When we can’t access our inner resources, we come to the flawed conclusion that happiness and fulfillment come only from external events. That’s because external events usually bring with them some sort of change. And so we’ve learned to rely on circumstances outside ourselves for forward or backward momentum as we hurtle through life. But we don’t have to do that any longer. We can learn to be the catalysts for our own change. – Sarah Ban Breathnach