FEB 2015

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

Issue link: https://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/457474

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Page 12 of 33

EAA Experimenter 13 and excellent craftsmanship, so the demand was high. That's where the problems began. BUSINESS DIFFICULTIES Terry loves to build airplanes but prefers a small shop operation. He never wanted to be an aircraft manufacturer; he predicted in 1997 that he would build two airplanes per month. A year later in 1998, Aero Works Inc.—the company doing the production—pre- dicted it could build fi ve per month. Due to strong demand, kits would be of ered instead of producing only completed ultralights, as originally planned. The venture didn't work out as hoped, and kit production ceased in 2005 when the company fl oundered. Veteran manufacturers in the homebuilt movement under- stand that airplane kits can be more work and require more sup- port than simply building the airplane as a ready-to-fl y aircraft. The precise details here are not important, except to say that late deliveries, incomplete kits, and canceled orders can bring a company to its knees as buyers wait longer and longer for de- livery. Because of lost records, no one knows for sure how many Aerolites were built, but 130 or more Aerolites were shipped worldwide. There are at least six listed on the FAA database as N-numbered amateur-built experimental aircraft. Probably more could be found by searching for variations in the name. U-FLY-IT TO THE RESCUE Fortunately, Terry resurrected the design in 2010 with a few minor improvements, including a spun-aluminum fuel tank, hardware upgrades, and a new engine. A lightweight 28-hp Hirth F-33 engine allowed additional features to be added to the de- sign, such as a three-blade composite prop, electric fl aps, electric start, brakes, wheelpants, streamline strut and gear fairings, and basic instrument package. He fl ew it at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh that year and again began limited production of the Aerolite 103. Unfortunately, within two years Terry realized he still didn't want to spend his time manufacturing airplanes. In late 2012, he SPECIFICATIONS Empty weight (Hirth F-33): 235 pounds Gross weight: 600 pounds Length: 16 feet, 3.25 inches Wingspan: 26 feet, 10.25 inches Wing area: 121 square feet Design limit load: +4/-2g Engine power: 28 to 50 hp Propeller diameter: 60 inches Stall speed, fl aps extended: 26 mph Stall speed, clean: 28 mph Cruise speed: 45 to 63 mph Top speed: 63 mph V NE (never exceed): 70 mph Maximum crosswind: 15 mph Rate of climb: 600 fpm Sink rate: 350 to 400 fpm Roll rate: 45 degrees to 45 degrees per 2.5 seconds Takeoff and landing: 100 to 200 feet Dennis Carley is now the proud owner of the Aerolite 103 design.

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