Where are we located?
Our development has been taking place in various locations. Designed in the US, with engineering and production help coming from Argentina, South Africa and several places in North America, the molds and prototypes are being built in Santa Maria, California (SMX). Based on sales and market demand, production will likely be in several international locations, with plans for facilities in North America, South America, South Africa, and possibly Asia and/or Europe. Research and development, as well as sales and service support, will continue out of SMX, with other US centers to be established in various geographical regions.
What is your experience?
We have been building airplanes for some time, and have been designing aircraft for the last five years (see www.sreyaaviation.com to see some of our other projects). We have a small team with decades of experience in design, development and manufacturing. Our in-house staff on these projects has included experts in manufacturing, tooling, aircraft development, structural engineering, composite structures, 3D CAD-CAM, etc. With regular help from various aeronautical and flight engineers, design and manufacturing partners, as well as a cadre of expert vendors, we have the capability and experience to go the distance with these ground-breaking aircraft.
What sets you apart?
The answer to this is simple, but has many facets. These aircraft have been conceived by a team that is dedicated to inexpensive flying - no matter what level of aircraft. All planes are a compilation of compromises: price, durability, aesthetics, performance, weight, and complexity. The Sport was designed with the first three in mind. There are faster, lighter, and (maybe) prettier aircraft, but nowhere else will you find the value that the Sport offers. We are proud of that, and committed toward that goal for all of our aircraft.
How is the aircraft made?
The Sport started life as a conceptual design several years ago, but didn't go beyond sketches until the first quarter of 2009. The aircraft was totally designed in 3D before any parts were made, and all the plugs for the molds were CNC carved to meet the precise dimensions necessary for a plane that needs to go together easily and quickly. The molds are all composite, backed with structural metal supports, frames and tables.
The parts themselves use the technologically advanced VIP method of fabrication. VIP stands for Vacuum Infusion Process. Basically, we apply the finish coat of the parts into the mold, and then layup the dry layers of the parts components. Everything uses a surface layer of composite cloth, followed by one or two layers of structural cloth, supported by an aviation grade 'core' layer, and finished up with either one or two more layers of composite cloth. After everything is secured in place, a series of layers necessary for applying a vacuum to the entire part are then applied. Integral to this are multiple lines for both infusion and vacuum. Once this is finished, a complete vacuum is applied to the part; after it is determined there are no leaks, the resin infusion lines are opened and the specially formulated resins are drawn into the part. The vacuum lines are strategically located around the entire mold, such that resin is drawn into all the layers of the part, from top to bottom, with a perfect saturation and resin to cloth ratio. This process allows us to limit waste, decrease costs, and end up with perfect parts.
After all the parts are made, they are cured and then assembled in specially constructed jigs and fixtures. The assembly process goes fairly quickly, as the various parts are simply clecoed together, bonded with resin and/or flox, and then the seams are touched up and finished. All seams that are readily visible are strategically located where they will be covered with vinyl accent striping. Once the engine and avionics are installed, each plane is then ready for test flying.
Why aren't you advertising performance figures?
The simple answer is because we don't truly know what they will be. We have a fairly good idea, based on the modeling we have, but we don't want to make promises that we can't keep, and we'd rather protect our reputation. That being said, and with the understanding that these figures are made up purely for your entertainment and sense of curiosity, here is what we hope that it will do.
With the base (small) 1000cc V-twin engine, we are shooting for a cruise of 100-110 mph, stall at 40-45 mph, climb of 400-500 fpm, take off roll of about 300-500 feet, landing of 400-700 feet. With a nine gallon tank and fuel burn of only 1.5 gph, range should be 400-500 miles!
Of course, the larger engines will give even better performance (maybe over 180 mph and 1800 fpm!).
Are there more details you can tell about the design?
At present, there isn't much more to say. We will post pictures of the prototype when it is ready, and send updates on development and test flying to everyone who requests to be on our mailing list; we hope that will include you!