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Sliwa Gets a Demo Flight in 007

Steve Sliwa


I had already ordered one, but I wanted to get a chance to fly one.  So I arranged to meet the ScaleWings team at their Deland Florida base of operations.  ScaleWings uses Alex Rolinski and Soma Andreka of Aero Affinity to assist with bringing planes into the country.  They help with the certification, testing, and training as needed.  SW-51 '007' is currently based there and I arranged to arrive when 014 ('Thunderbird') was going to be present.

I had gotten a chance to sit in "007" at the last Reno Air Race so my main goal was to get a chance to fly in the bird with Alex.  I climbed into the back seat.  It took a little effort to get in, but it was very comfortable once settled.  The guys tell me they are contemplating a fuselage step to make it a bit easier to get in.

I continue to be amazed at how fast the plane has evolved.  I saw the original model at the 2022 Reno Air Race and was intrigued.  But once I sat in "007" I felt like this was the right one for me.  I video interviewed Simon and posted in the Forums some clips going over improvements, many of them since "007."

Well Alex took off.  I think the take-off roll requires some attention as it takes a little time to get up to a good speed.  Positive rate, the gear comes up.  By the time we turned crosswind we were climbing well above 1500 fpm.  We went to the practice area and did some maneuvers including a barrel roll. I did a few turns to get the feel of the plane and some roll reversals.  Then I wanted to test the engine temperature in climb.

My previous Rotax 912 required leveling out at about 3,000' AGL to cool the engine before proceeding on the climb.  Alex told us that his Rotax planes in his hangar will overheat on taxi tests if at idle for 15 minutes or more.  Simon told me that he took 014 with the Rotax 916iS out for taxi tests and found that even in FL after an hour he couldn't get the Rotax to overheat.  Be sure to see the Forum post with the video interview I did with Simon on SW-51 cooling.

We climbed from 2,000' to 10,000' at Vy + 15 knots.  The oil temperature slightly dipped into the yellow at 116 °F.  The redline is 130 °F.  Simon had set the yellow to start 15 °F early to serve as warning to the owner.  In any case, it was stable.  Climb rate was about 700 fpm to 800 fpm at the end.  The day was warm and humid in FL.

We then let down gently to airport and entered the patter.  With flaps deployed there was good visibility of the runway and we ended up doing a wheel landing and easily rolled to a stop with no braking to the second turn off. 

It was a great flight.  The flying qualities were amazingly good.  Everything operated as expected.

Alex told me that built up 140 hours of flight time during his adventures across the country last fall.  He was surprised that it didn't need any maintenance and everything just operated as planned.  He works with several LSA designs and he just couldn't imagine it would be that easy in the others.  Of course, the SW-51 is not a cheap LSA, it's truly a high quality airplane that is well engineered with true aircraft style components and strengths.

Here are some images of me getting ready for my flight:

IMG_5949.jpeg      IMG_5950.jpeg   IMG_5951.jpeg

Here is a video of me going for the flight:






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