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Snedden Manufacturing
Snedden M7 High Performance Ultralight
Newsletter #1  03-06-09

   Thanks to everybody who has expressed interest in the Snedden M7 and M10 advanced ultralights Also thanks to those who urge my involvement in seeking remedy for the terrible dangerous and paralyzing situation wrought upon the ultralight community and industry by the EAA/FAA SP/LSA CFI BS miss-legislation that destroyed the entire working ultralight flight training safety system and roughly a thousand jobs as well as a large number of critically important two seat counterpart ultralight training aircraft  This is a very serious situation that is causing accidents and it is being deliberately concealed by the EAA/FAA who concocted the SP/LSA legislation to cripple and forcibly assimilate the ultralight community and industry in order to “breath new life” into the competing and failing general aviation brand.  The results have been tragic and effort must be made to bring this conspiracy of concealment and disinformation to the surface so that safer and real ultralight specific flight instruction can be restored.  Many actions are planned including the creation of the Ultralight Hall of Shame which will include those who regularly publish stories that intentionally overlook this situation to the great disservice of all of aviation and safety.  Inductees will also include those people most responsible for the specific decision to end the ultralight flight instructor and the ultralight training aircraft exemptions without any quantity or quality replacement in place or even possible as evident by the tragic results. Due to the great interest in this very serious subject, more information about this as well as some of this related information from this M7 site is now in a new website  called www.theultralightclub.org  This site will be managed with involvement by other concerned contributing aviators who understand the situation and who seem equally apt and determined to address this situation.  We are already receiving very significant information contributions that the current SP/LSA publications are afraid to talk about for fear of loosing SP/LSA brownie points which is more important to them than safety and the future of ultralight aviation.  The Future Flyers Ultralight Club at www.theultralightclub.org  highlights the fact that ultralights are not airplanes or sportplanes and why it is critically important to maintain that critical separation for safety reasons and for the future of ultralight aviation and for the people’s right to affordable, safest access to the sky.  Likewise it is shown why specialized ultralight type specific flight instruction and why the different specific types of two seat counterpart ultralight training aircraft are necessary and must not be associated with any part of general aviation which is dieing rapidly due to its traditional obsolete failing elite orientated ideologies, brain dead regulations and training criteria, today’s realities and changing economics.

   Of course the number one M7question is the selling price.  The second most common question is availability.  I have kept cost records for the M7 prototype. However the selling price of production M7 and M10 ultralights will depend on batch quantities and a number of other factors and considerations that I have not yet compiled numbers for.  It was not my intention to take orders at this time, but rather to let people know that something new and exciting is coming in this time when legal ultralight selection and training availability suffered a double hit from the FAA SP/LSA miss-legislation. So don’t give up on your dreams of flight yet.  It is ok to express a no commitment interest to buy one in which case I might adjust my plan to build a batch of 10 to a larger number even though purchase interest currently exceeds ten.  Of the 10 that I may build, only seven, possibly six remain at this time that might be sold under special or exclusive terms.  I may not start the batch of 10 until May 2009 depending on the results of a very important and exciting alternative energy invention that I am working on which could place high demands on my time which could postpone a production batch. This invention would have further beneficial implications for the ultralight community as well as the world.  Prior to any final production decision, I may build a prototype M10 for many reasons. Elements unique to the M10 design are already in development.

   The M7 is currently in the flight test phase.  The weather here has been bad and not very conducive for good flight testing and analysis. The last flight was 50 minutes long.  The heating system worked well such that I did not get cold until after the flight in the forty something degree temperature.  The tail section has been raised 9 inches (photos are not current) and cross control is now easier and handling is more consistent at all speeds and power levels.  There is now less danger that the tail could drag the ground during landing and high angle of attack ground effect flight.  Better hang glider tow cable clearance is provided too.  During a portion of that latest flight, I was able to maintain a cruise power indicated (but not true) airspeed of 18 mph.  Even though I had the airspeed indicator tube pointing downward at 7 degrees, my angle of attack was considerably larger (from below) which would cause the air speed to register lower than actual.  I have noticed that at very low speeds at high angle of attack, the M7 roll response gets even better contrary to most conventional understanding.  There are a number of interesting reasons for this that are unique to the M7 design which I will not cover here. I will say that this is a very beneficial feature and it makes for some rather fun and snappy low speed maneuvering.  I can’t wait to count how many level or climbing figure eights that I can do in the same time that it takes for an airplane to do a single 360 degree turn.  The M7 design continues to behave at and/or exceed my expectations.  The M7 ultralight design is the first ultralight that has everything that is right about ultralights, in all of the right places, at optimum proportions and is not a collection of compromises and questionable bending moments.  Many more tests are needed to more thoroughly evaluate the M7 including observation of other ultralight pilots piloting the M7.  One other ultralight pilot (my brother) has fast taxied the M7 and appeared to steer it well with the rudder pedals in the more natural push left to go right configuration.  Two other ultralight pilots are in line to try the M7 after completion of and Snedden type control training in the M7 control simulator.  If the EAA/FAA would stand down on their attack on ultralight specific flight instruction, I would have modified one our (FAA destroyed) Quicksilver MXL II two seat trainers with the right seat converted to the new control system.  Because of this critical missing link, I had to learn to fly the M7 instantly upon takeoff.  This method was very risky and challenging and would never have been attempted without the Magnum ballistic recovery parachute armed and ready.  Having lots of power also provides extra safety.  No SP/LSA version of the M7 or M10 and up will not be built for many reasons such as the newly imposed unnecessary SP/LSA bureaucratic costs and the fact that these new ultralights will rely on advanced features such as in-flight adjustable propellers, non piston, non wankle ultralight propulsion systems that are not allowed on LSA rendering them obsolete by the new benchmarks to be established by the new generation of ultralights.

   The M7s newly elevated tail allows more clearance for tow cable attachment for hang glider towing as allowed by ultralights.  It was brought to my attention by a CFI that used to do towing who flew in twice to see the M7, that the M7 may be the first true ultralight that has the power and low speed capability to tow hang gliders aloft.  It was estimated that the M7 has approximately 350 pounds static thrust with modifications underway to increase this to over 400 pounds.  Another famous new composite ultralight with its PPG powerplant and prop, that a few compared to the M7 would be lucky to give one third of that thrust.  In other words one (1) M7 could drag three (3) of them screaming at full throttle backwards in a tug of war.  Good luck to the heavy pilot trying to get one of those ultralights off the ground and over the trees at a short airstrip.  Otherwise I like that other design a lot in certain ways.

   Overseas interest in purchasing and in producing M7’s, and in considering certain offered incentives for setting up and operating overseas manufacturing operations, has compelled me to further evaluate the utilitarian use for the M7, M10 and M20 as a low cost cargo hauler in remote tight areas in third world countries.  The M7s large square lower deck space would allow it to be lifted up and set down over pre loaded, pre balanced pallets of 32 square foot size, without need for pilot deboarding if rapid delivery cycles are required.  The powerful M7 or M10s rugged low aspect ratio wing design would allow it to heavy land “skid pallets” over high obstacles whose weight would exceed the payload capacities of small unaffordable helicopters.  Larger gains in range, altitude and payload are possible with larger fuel tanks and a greater wingspan that can easily be added to the Snedden airframe design configuration.  Wing area is cheap and light.  However I consider the larger wingspan (high aspect ratio wing) option to have its special set of disadvantages which detract from the superior high performance ultralight experience offered by the M7’s low aspect ratio wing configuration.  Remote control, rescue, personnel transfer, and military platforms are other possible uses.

We now have radios, better GPS, and wing tip video camera to better analyze and display the M7 performance, control functions and rapid control and thrust response.  Video has been very useful for analysis. For example in encountering a serious trim adjustment issue during the M7’s first flight, I learned that I did not detect it during the few dusk time hurried crow hops on the night before because one wheel was still apparently in contact with the ground, as best as we could determine from reanalyzing the dusk time video.  Additionally, a bad trim setting is less noticeable when using the low power levels that were used during that evening crow hop excursion.

   Since this winter weather is bad and I am a perfectionist, I continue to make improvements to the prototype.  I just completed a very ingenious 4 pound weight reduction to the engine.  This consisted of a compact recoil starter that I designed, made and plugged into the electric starter hole.  The removal of the Hirth recoil starter saved a lot of weight and opened up a lot of space and made everything even easier to work on than it was before.  This made physical clearance for an improved lower fairing made of aluminum and improved pilot heating that was just recently installed.  A lighter and quieter medium tuned expansion chamber exhaust system of my own special design is being constructed with high quaiity stainless and will have a very long aluminum silencer section.  The prototype expansion chamber will have an in-flight adjustable internal main body length to explore for the optimum tuned length and will be five (5) pounds lighter than the stock system.  A minor power boost from 65 to 75 HP may be implemented in conjunction with improvements in engine cooling.  In-flight adjustable pitch propeller hub and some other neat things are in the works too for later this year.

   I have been asked to accelerate the float program to accommodate some overseas interest, and thus a new type of ultra light pontoon float system is being fitted to the M7 and will be tested for its use on the M10 ultralight which will likely use the 100 HP Hirth 3701 three cylinder two cycle engine with fuel injection.  The M7 looks fantastic with these new type floats under it.  An amphibious option is not part of the current design criteria.  The M10, with its large diameter in-flight pitch adjustable propeller, will to the best of my knowledge be the worlds first true legal ultralight with an unmodified off the shelf engine that will demonstrate a vertical hover followed by vertical climb with a 175 pound pilot.  Any production M7 ultralights will carry the extended length side rails and necessary features to minimize any conversion to the M10 configuration or to simply be converted to the M10 float system while maintaining the 65 HP Hirth engine
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As hard as it may seem to the few who are entrenched in the old ways of traditional aviation thinking, the ultralights of the future will have performance similar to and exceeding that of the M10.  Just as more power, rollercoaster performance, strength and simple operation is what now sells in all other powersports, so shall it sell ultralights and cause unprecedented growth in the ultralight community and industry.  It did not take long for ATVs to come from nowhere and out sell motocross motorcycles 6 to 1 mostly because they were easier to operate and safer/more stable on the ground with four wheels somewhat like the M7 is.  Note that 3 wheeled ATVs were rendered unstable and consequently outlawed. Tail dragger airplanes can be even more unstable and involve additional training, risks and limitations including the ability kick around tail first during ground roll or to flip over during braking for short landing places.  Why would anyone want to subject themselves to such unnecessary problems and limitations?  The M7 quad wheel system is stronger, safer and more versatile.  The M7 can dart about like a go cart on the ground.  Before I did the tail elevation modification, I did a high speed takeoff run with the handlebars held slightly forward with the rear wheels about 8 inches off the asphalt in a cross wind.  The M7 will not leave the ground once you enter this near zero angle of attack state at high speeds unless you pull back on the handlebars with some pressure.  Of course I kept the pedal controlled front wheel steering steady and let the M7 drift a little with the cross wind as I was aware that I could be asking for some serious tail dragger ground loop issues.  The M7 did seem to remain very strongly weathervaned to the forward direction and I could not detect any pilot induced steering deflections.  I will not experiment with this any more until I am on wet grass where I will intentionally experiment with ground spins.

   It’s hard to believe that most single place motorcycles, jet skies, snow mobiles and lots of ATVs have more power than ultralights and most of the much heavier two seat LSA.  Traditional aviation under powering is nothing less than pathetic and dangerous. This will become apparent to the public when they see in real life what the M7 and M10 can do by comparison to what other ultralights and LSA can not do by the numbers or by prayer.  I recently inquired about the availably of the very impressive Aaen V-4 two stroke engine with 200 HP.  This engine will work in the basic M7 airframe with the new pontoon system, some other modifications and exclusive Snedden ultralight technology. It would be completely Part 103 legal “Guaranteed and proven upon delivery” This is just one version of a M20 being studied with vertical rocket like acceleration potential.  It would also demonstrate the great future of ultralight aviation and mark a rapid departure from traditional aviation thinking and limitations.  Do not try to put such engines on other ultralight or LSA designs for those vehicles and airplanes are not of an optimized structural configuration sufficient to handle the forces involved.

   Various means will be employed to limit the level top speed of high power ultralights for compliance with FAR Part 103 and A/C 103-7.  A present Snedden invention which will be the critical law compliance enabling technology for the future of high power ultralights, is a very special multi function upper and lower speed cruise control system.  In one embodiment, it uses a simple means to monitor air speed and in turn can actively reduce the engine throttle setting in but not limited to the throttle cable splitter location (without disturbing the pilots throttle control setting) in order to automatically reduce engine thrust level sufficient to modulate/limit the maximum level flight speed to 63 MPH.  Hence in any subsequent climb or normal condition that would cause a decline in speed below 63 MPH, where the pilots throttle setting was previously or is set sufficiently high to demand maximum speed, such device would automatically reapply throttle allowing the engine to provide the requested speed.  No change to the pilots throttle control setting would occur.  Some people would call this a maximum air speed governor.  Such device is explicitly allowed by A/C 103-7.  A second claim or additional function of this device is invaluable to aviation safety and works very well in conjunction with the safety opportunity provided by the Snedden M7’s exceptional low speed thrust power to weight ratio. This deals with stall prevention. Here an angle of attack monitoring device provides feed back to the same (throttle cable splitter located) throttle over ride unit to add additional thrust when angle of attack indicates that a stall is nearing. Some people would call this a maximum angle of attack / minimum flight speed governor.  Engine rpm monitoring and several failsafe settings are included in the system to prevent engine load up or loss of throttle control in event of a breakdown of any of the systems components, providing a level of reliability equal to the absence of said system with a minimal ground adjustable default throttle setting sufficient to reach 63 MPH in level flight.  Again without disturbing the pilots throttle setting unless it was desired and arranged to do so.  In effect, a pilot could from stand still set the throttle to full throttle, lift off three seconds later and fly about doing various things and maneuvers without concerning himself about the full throttle setting until landing whereupon the pilot would disable only the later anti-stall function in order to allow the ultralight to land or for stall practice.  The pilot would not be able to shut off the upper speed limit part.  More normally an ultralight pilot will be active with the throttle and may rarely bump into the upper speed or lower speed control functions.  Thus the pilot would not feel that or encounter that his piloting or throttle settings are ever altered in any way as consistent with traditional ultralights.  Alternatively, the standard automobile cruise control concept could be used with an adjustable flexible stability range to prevent unnecessary hard power surges that would otherwise occur if the engine was asked to maintain any exact air speed.  A narrowing of this flexible range can be programmed or made to occur near the upper airspeed limit and like wise at the lower limit in the case of a minimum airspeed governed or maximum angle of attack governed configuration.  Note that this alternate throttle controlled airspeed control is different than the previously described systems. The pilot would set his throttle not to achieve a specific RPM but rather to lock in a specific air speed that would of course allow a little range of float to prevent power surges.  Alternatively a variation can be configured to allow the pilot to lock in any specific angle of attack to achieve better fuel economy and would have more appeal for low aspect ratio wing designs where a broader range of attack is possible and more difficult to judge and control exact angle of attack. Any blending of any combinations of these functions is possible using the proper hardware and software in the programmable configurations. All of these systems are more significant to and work better on high power ultralights.

Such advances in ultralight power, airframe strength, safest design, aerodynamic high angle stall resistance, automatic power stall resistance, ballistic chutes, user friendly control system and other features are very important to the future of personal recreational aviation which I firmly believe includes only ultralight aviation.  Let’s just say I have insider information.  LSA has far too many law, technical, and cost constraints to ever compete with the next generation of high performance ultralights.  On top of that, those involved in trying to destroy the American ultralight community and ultralight industry to force assimilation into the concocted LSA industry, are already racing to turn SP/LSA into an overpriced dinosaur industry.  What a joke.  Airplane pilots and ultralight pilots generally find great amusement with LSA limitations and prohibitive rising costs.

Some have questioned the possibility that such a robust ultralight design with a 65 HP standard engine could actually be within the 254+24chute=278 pound ultralight weight limit.  We just weighed the M7 using a brand new AWS TL-Series 440 lb digital hanging scale at 277.5 pounds with a ballistic recovery parachute installed.  I will later buy the AWS TL-Series 330 pound scale too for additional verification evidence.  The next two modifications will bring the weight down to about 272.5 with some additional modifications causing plus and minus (2) pound maximum weight fluctuations, and a final set of modifications which will provide another significant margin of weight compliance to be set into any production vehicles.  Further weight reduction is possible but the best possible ultralight is the one that best utilizes nearly the maximum legal weight.  It makes no safety or fun related sense to seek a ultralight with less weight or less power.  Part 103 and A/C 103-7 compliance is guaranteed, no problem.  Zero problem. (period)

The new Snedden M7 control system is the icing on the cake and a basic control simulator will be constructed for training and to allow newcomers the chance to test themselves on both equally tuned systems.  I expect to spend a lot of my time at air shows introducing people to this superior user friendly control system that renders the traditional push right to go right pedal system incorrect and wholly bizarre by comparison.  We will keep track of test scores and public evaluation results.

   History shows many examples of large segments of society based on obsolete, false or incorrect assumptions and proportions. Traditional general aviation in the US is one such institution that has failed and has miss taught us over ten times worse than the current American dinosaur automobile industry has.  It’s just that general aviation has gotten so small and insignificant that nobody from the outside world notices and so few observe the impact of its multiple gross deficiencies unlike that observed in the failed auto industry or housing market.  Like is there a hundred thousand cars on the road to every one small airplane actually flying in the air?  If failure has a mathematical equation just look up into the empty sky to see it for yourself.  The FAA offices should be equally emptied.  Light aviation needs to be viewed and evaluated in new ways.  For example the number of airplanes that exist has much less meaning than how many can be found in the air at any one time in a given airspace. Airplanes are generally parked.  The FAA would like you to believe that the sky is filled solid with jet airplanes, if you saw their giant video screen on the wall at Oshkosh Airventure 2008 that rendered all of the airplanes with 70 mile or so overlapping (colliding) wingspans!  Anything to promote an overrated public concern and bureaucratic empire building.  The only thing the FAA needs is big, big, big budget cuts to match their cleansing of the sky, sufficient to get them out of a business that they know absolutely nothing of, that being the future of personal recreational aviation.  People who cannot imagine and create will often seek to control and restrict those who can.  It is easy for me to envision a time when there will be over 10 ultralights in the air to any airplane and LSA in the air and the people would be inspired.

   A local newspaper recently published a great feature story about the Snedden M7 ultralight.
A congratulatory story was published in the EAA Chapter 402 December newsletter.
My youngest son machinist has just now started his own metal casting operation in a nearby state to augment my own in house casting capability.
My sail loft operation will be moved to a new building location.   Any production ultralights beyond the next few (which will incorporate some sail improvements) may be made by a sail supplier to be determined later.
My oldest son soloed and experienced his first ultralight deadstick landing perfectly when he was only13. He is now a webmaster, maintains the website and is investigating overseas production opportunities and has experience with overseas transactions of products and vehicles.  He has been invited there to investigate the opportunities offered and may be crossing the Pacific this May.
My Dad, Brother and Captain Bob are all current ultralight pilots and have all helped wherever possible.
And special thanks to my energetic girlfriend Laura who helped cover the first M7 and provide peripheral support whenever and wherever possible.
Thanks Mom for your support from the very beginning till the very end and beyond.
We all miss you.
Thanks to all of my ultralight instructors, fellow ultralight instructors, coworkers, parts suppliers, friends, ultralight students and ultralight pilots in California, Ohio, Canada and elsewhere  who know me, and offered suggestions and encouragement.

Our new Future Flyers Ultralight Club  www.theultralightclub.org  had its first four growing monthly gatherings and they turned out exceedingly well such that bimonthly meetings were requested by a few.  So we had what I might call a half meeting more recently which covered alternative energy devices and concepts.  This new website has been updated to cover corrective actions and chronicle the gross FAA mis legislation, misinformation, unsafe conditions and the special interest parties involved that caused the elimination of ultralight flight instructors and two seat counterpart ultralight training vehicles.

   The FAA only pedals complete lies with regard to the availability of ultralight flight instruction thinking that no one will call them out on that subject.  Here’s how the FAA lies.  You call Jay in Oklahome where the FAA pedals the SP/LSA mis-legslation and ask where you can get ultralight flight instruction for a Quicksilver Sprint ultralight while knowing of course that there used to be real ultralight instructors in your area for that ultralight type. Of course FAA Jay might try to tell you that suitable lessons can be obtained in other aircraft types, which is pure BS. The FAA will tell you to call some of the new SP/CFI that exist in the current listings and that you should be able to find one.  What the FAA then counts on is that the caller after calling every SP/CFI on the list in your state and some neighboring states (obviously out of any reasonable range) will just give up on their dream of flight or pull thousands of extra dollars out of their ass to pay for unwanted, boring and unaffordable airplane lessons which is really what the SP/CFI specialize in.  By this time the caller is so frustrated and depressed that they rarely call the FAA back to tell them that they (FAA) are engaged in a massive bait, lie, switch and deny scam that deprived real people access to the sky, creates less safe training conditions and costs our declining economy over a thousand jobs, effectively putting the coffin lid on the only successful industry that has true potential to bring the ultimate dream of flight to the largest possible segment of the American population.  Of course the FAA SP/LSA con artist whose job depends on continuance of the scam and misinformation will never report the tragic situation up the ladder high enough to initiate the necessary corrective action.

   So in the mean time, local, experienced professional type specific ultralight instructors who jobs were terminated on 01-31-08 get to stand by and watch the very few new students willing to compromise, accept and that can afford the EAA/FAA illicitly imposed SP/LSA program, that can actually find a willing CFI from far away, intern get subjected to inferior flight training from CFI’s lacking experience in that type trainer resulting in crashes.  Sometimes in the very first lesson.  Yes we are looking into such accidents.  The FAA accident reports may report lack of CFI experience, but not cite the circumstances that really caused the accident.  People and organizations that cannot create are often incapable of looking back far enough to see what really caused the accident especially if that same organization is the real root cause.

There are a few rare instances in very few locations in very few states where a CFI can be found that could offer certain type ultralight flight instruction in only a few of the many different ultralight types that also deserve specific type instructors and two seat counterparts.  But the supply of these guys is not likely to increase beyond the current level that can best described as extinct to 99 percent of the USA.  So if you don’t live within an hour or so of one of these guys, and that rare CFI does not offer flight lessons for your brand/type of ultralight or have a SP/LSA approved two seat counterpart, then you are in the difficult position that applies to 99 percent of the population.  In school this would be a bad test score of (99) wrong and only one (1) right which makes your grade only a 1%. This can be best described as a failure and reflects a total lack of study, thought, attention span or consideration.  In this case though the FAA is using our taxpayer money to cheat us out of life enhancing freedoms and create unsafe conditions for those who must learn to fly ultralights the old way.

It takes a time and cost prohibitive excessive amounts of training in a non type LSA aircraft to give the new pilot the confidence and incomplete and incompatible skills required to solo crash the ultralight on his first attempt out.  General aviation FAA training criteria is too focused with emphasis on assimilation in teaching airplane stuff generally limited to the easy “street” airplane airport environment jammed with unnecessary zulu time like stuff that a ultralight pilot and instructor could never use, while neglecting and deemphasizing a vast wealth of life saving skills and knowledge that would prepare the ultralight pilot for the much more sophisticated and varied “off road” flying environments that ultralight pilots use.  You do not use a street motorcycle instructor to teach motocross or any form of off road motorcycling for example. But that’s very much like what has happened.  Furthermore each of the many different particular ultralight designs require a lot of specialized training criteria that is unique to that particular design, that can best be taught by a dedicated instructor that learned to teach in only that type.  General aviations erroneous ideology that a generic airplane/airport training program is best for everybody is “dead” wrong.  You do not want a general practice doctor doing your brain surgery do you? Especially when the general practice doctors banded together to eliminate the qualified brain surgeons who were getting all of that business before. Well that in essence is just about what the EAA/FAA did and is not telling you about.  They are now actively advertising like real ultralight instructors never ever existed.
Most CFI are not even experienced or proficient in a Challenger which is a little more airplane like.  A cable braced Quicksilver is a different animal altogether and requires substantial crow hop training to properly train ultralight pilots.  In such ultralight types, general aviation SP/CFI have little clue, knowledge, dedicated skill or the necessary youth and coordination required to replicate this. There are a lot of the very popular Quicksilvers out there with people wanting lessons that can no longer be found as of 01-31-08. Beware of any CFI or publications and writers who do not know or acknowledge these most important safety related things.

   USUA BFI and AFI ultralight type specific instructors in two seat counterpart training aircraft gave the students the exact specific ultralight training aligned directly to the student’s solo ultralight vehicle that the instructor is also proficient in. Those students excelled.  The students in realizing that what they were learning was more directly applicable to their upcoming first solo, were also more likely to complete the entire USUA structured training program which included emergency flight training by younger highly proficient ultralight flight instructors, written, oral, preflight and flight testing, all at much lower costs and time than possible with SP/LSA.  SP/LSA training is jammed with so much airplane BS and non ultralight environment experience, that the students are not properly prepared for the real ultralight environment.  SP flight testing is also very inconsistent.  Often airplane CFI are extremely unprepared to give ultralight lessons or SP/LSA flight lessons in many of the different two seat counterpart ultralight training aircraft or in SP/LSA types and rarely are proficient in any of the different types of ultralights much less than being qualified to give any ultralight flight instruction.  We are investigating some accidents that strongly support this and the urgency for restoring the working ultralight flight instruction system that was officially taken away on 01-31-08 ASAP.

Under the previous successful ultralight training program, the students also become part of the ultralight inspection and maintenance team and all students and fellow pilots take part in the inspection and maintenance activities of the two seat counterparts resulting in a very successful maintenance program.  Zero engine outs on self maintained two seat counterpart trainers and single seat ultralights here for me, my brother and my dad.  Only experienced ultralighteers are qualified and allowed to inspect our vehicles.  (The M7 is currently open to inspection to verify compliance with FAR103 and A/C103-7)  The new SP/LSA rules eliminates this concept and the students are not allowed supervised hands on experience in learning to maintain their ultralight in the tradition of FAR 103.  The only SP/LSA in our area suffered a total engine failure in flight with a passenger after he passed LSA inspection and completed his LSA repairman course.  Every aspect of the concocted SP/LSA program should not apply to any part of ultralight flight training or its necessary two seat counterpart ultralight training aircraft.  It is just stupid to pay an airplane mechanic to inspect an ultralight type aircraft design that the mechanic or DAR does not fly or admittedly knows nothing about. Those aircraft already get an extraordinary amount of attention by the owners and their experienced peers who are similarly multi skilled in ultralight aviation and maintenance. They all relish looking at each others vehicles to find anything wrong.  There is usually quite a network of people associated with and looking at most ultralight types.  LSA repairman courses offer so incredibly little to this ultralight community knowledge base that wasting time and money on it is more likely to detract from the pilots time and money resources that he could have spent on the vehicle.  The enforcement of the LSA maintenance rules are more likely to detract from maintenance quality and the threat of FAA harassment adds yet another reason for disassembling and storing the aircraft as in most cases. Ultralighteers know what flying is and what it isn’t.  It certainly isn’t about paying money to airplane people who do not understand this. It isn’t about taking away the owners right to best maintain the aircraft or spend money and time to buy back this right. It isn’t about forcing the use of expensive ELT systems for short range training flights. It is not about playing unnecessary games with government bureaucracy.  The safest pilot is one who is intolerant of BS and is dedicated to his specific vehicle type, not a jack of all trades.

    The fact that the SP/LSA rules do not require life saving rapid deployment ballistic  whole aircraft recovery parachutes as most ultralights and two seat counterpart ultralight training aircraft typically used, is very substantial proof of SP/LSA safety and maintenance rule incompetence.  Ultralighteers and normal people are smart enough to know the importance of such equipment.  ( I don’t fly often without a chute.  In fact the only two seater that went to LSA and was rated as airworthy by FAA in our area was the only one that does not have a chute. Ultralighteers and all real people would rate it as not airworthy because it does not have a chute. ) Think about this. Slow moving 278 pound ultralights with emergency chutes and less than five gallons of gas are not allowed to fly over congested areas or populations while high speed automobile weight airplanes with much more fuel are free to fly over and free fall on your house with no chute.  Real nice.     So why does the general aviation FAA system not recognize this and instead mandates expensive false alarm prone equipment to help them find a likely already locally known accident site?  Because the parachutes which are almost exclusive to the ultralight industry save hundreds of lives as well documented.  The FAA would have to scale down its bureaucracy if it did not get to write big fatal accident reports that are likely to make it into the TV news and frighten the public into believing that we need more FAA bureaucracy to save them from all the little ultralights raining down onto and destroying their homes and killing entire family’s.  Yes the FAA should pat itself on the back for destroying such everyday WMD.  A little humor.

 

   We are amazed at what people are doing with motorcycles, bicycles, ATVs, jet skies and such compared to 20 or 30 years ago.  Today’s ultralights (and airplanes) cannot do even half of what they should be able to do after so many years of development, bureaucratic constraints and the continued imposition of traditional obsolete ways. One reason is that fixed wing ultralight designers are of the mistaken idea that ultralights should be designed to look like airplanes. Big mistake. Just using airplane style strut wing bracing alone (as opposed to four point cable bracing) or just using the traditional sewer pipe tail boom alone (as opposed to a strut braced structure) will pretty well take a ultralight design out of the competition. If you try to make an ultralight look like an airplane, there is generally a huge weight and or strength penalty paid such that in order to fall within the 278 pound limit including a parachute, they are forced to use only half an engine (single cylinder).  Ultralights due to their low speeds do not need to share the structural design and weight compromises that airplane designs have to incorporate due to the rapid onset of aerodynamic drag considerations above 63 MPH. Therefore an ultralight can be designed to be structurally optimized for the lowest possible weight and highest possible strength. A structurally optimized ultralight design such as the M7 will always have the most exciting power to strength to weight to fun ratio.  The FAR 103 and A/C 103-7 maximum allowable weight limit pretty well makes this a rigid fact with little room for compromises anywhere.  So if you think an airplane or a wanabe airplane is the way to fly then go to the bank and try to get a loan and then go back home and sit on the couch in front of the TV for a few more years. Other reasons for current ultralight designs failing to demonstrate the superior potential of ultralight aviation are all too clear and all these reasons can be overcome, dispensed with or ignored.   I am just simply not going to wait that long for more exciting ultralights especially if it is necessary to save the ultralight industry from the immediate hardships intentionally forced upon it for obvious special interest considerations.

    There are some really good ultralight designs out there and some in various stages of development that would be better suited to other ultralight pilots than the M7.  The M7 type is definitely not for everybody considering their many different backgrounds, experiences, expectations and such.  People will always compare other designs to their own expectations that may very well be very similar to the expectations of many others.  No one design will satisfy everybody and therefore it is important to promote variety.  A pilot might typically consider only one or very few particular designs as worthwhile from the very many that are available especially if they are working on and are proud of their own particular design.  Various thoughts, comments, questions and answers from some of the “experts” about the M7 can be found at www.homebuiltairplanes.com under “The light stuff area” in a subsection titled “New U/L Manufacturer”. I seriously consider what they say although everybody will not agree with everybody on everything. I designed the M7 for the many reasons expressed and am sure that it will promote and contribute to the great future of ultralight aviation that could be very possible if we all can roll the FAA back to before only 14 months ago in this time of encroaching despair with threatens all of aviation from the so called top first and down.  We all must be more active and work in this area.  Those of us who may be the leaders in the ultralight community and industry must make renewed effort in this area.  Perhaps I am wrong but I see that the truth, statistics, and evidence has strongly swung to our favor despite the signs of capitulation, censorship and dis or misinformation that can be observed in some of the publications.  I am now getting very important information from others that will be even more helpful and encourage more.  andy@theultralightclub.org

    New ultralight flight philosophies and ultralight specific training criteria will accompany these unprecedented changes.  I insist that the FAA stay out of this specific business which it has little vision, attitude, aptitude or adaptability for, Except for the reissuance of the ultralight flight instructor and two place counterpart trainer exemptions as it worked before for so many years.  This is necessary because SP/LSA has totally failed to provide the replacement ultralight flight instruction that was promised.  Nor does SP/LSA have any realistic formula to make ultralight specific flight instruction available.  Additionally a revolutionary new ultralight type is now on the horizon that may represent the only surviving design for the future of fixed wing recreational aviation.  Furthermore the EAA/FAA SP/LSA has and will have exactly Zero CFI instructors for the new design because of the new people friendly control system that requires specifically dedicated ultralight type flight instructors. Additionally the EAA/FAA SP/LSA will have zero two seat counterpart trainers where such designs (with fuel saving pollution reducing in-flight adjustable pitch propellers and new propulsion systems) are too advanced to exist under LSA rules.  The EFAA by their current actions have completely disqualified them selves and have proven them selves harmful and unqualified in all regards dealing with the safety and future of ultralight aviation and should reinstate the necessary exemptions and withdraw its involvement back to pre 01-31-08 levels. In doing so, then the design of critically important new two seat counterpart ultralight trainers can begin.  Additionally a new dedicated ultralight type specific ultralight flight instructor base can be built where such instructors can be properly isolated from EFAA misteachings which are harmful to the safest skills and methods required for the new type fixed wing ultralights.  Jack’s, Jay’s and Roy’s of all trades not permitted.    

Now back to the future!  New ultralight only, direct drive, non piston / non rotor engines will be available in the not so distant future. These engines will put ultralights at the top of the world in personal recreational aviation and are prohibited from use on LSA and airplanes as per existing FAA rules.  Such high efficiency, vibration free, ultra compact low RPM engines with approximately 4 HP per pound, will also be available for military and competition use with potentials exceeding 10 HP per pound depending on TBO, application and noise reduction requirements.  The exhaust system is much larger than the engine and would emit sound at approximately at 48,000 cps in a typical ultralight application.  The M7 was designed for such engines which are in the final design stages of development.  No other ultralight design can safely handle 2.5 G acceleration, torque load and new thrust potential (exceeding 1000 pounds and throttle governed to not exceed 63 mph airspeed or fall below stall angle of attack). Of course these engines will be governed for most ultralight pilots and that power capability will be transferred to very high TBO, reliability or surplus power needed for VTOL or for some extreme situation like a partially malfunctioning engine condition.  Power potentials like this may come from electric motors too. Those reading this need not be frightened of this talk about the future. Those who doubt it are free to doubt it as I and others are free to work on it until the EFAA outlaws it in which case the work will already have been transferred overseas.  The FAA doesn’t mind eliminating flight hours or productive jobs and sending work overseas because they will create twice as many bureaucratic jobs to replace them without raising taxes since they will get stimulus money to cover it.
The M7 fabrication and proving was placed on a faster track to best show case such new engine technology.  High demand for a powerful, strong, reliable, legal part 103 ultralight creates a time period where some M7 and M10 ultralights will be built using Hirth engines until these new future engines are tested for some period of time.  When the new engines become available, initially in limited quantities, they will be available to those with existing M7 and M10 ultralights for upgrade to the M20 configuration.  It is hoped that the M20 ultralight with or without floats will not be more expensive than the M10 since high engine production rates for military demand would reduce consumer price, in the ideal scenario of course.  Other propulsion systems are being examined too.

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Ultralight pilot in control,
Andrew Snedden






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