"We will be offering three basic packages, the SNS 8 UL the
ultralight version of the plane which is a true part 103 craft, the SNS 8
EXP our experimental version of the single place and the SNS 9 our two
"The single place ultralight version is powered by the Zanzaterra, MZ
201 twin cylinder two stroke, while the experimental version uses the 447
and 503 Rotax. According to Ron the kits will take about 150 to 200 hours
to put together, with the single place version using presewn dacron
envelopes while the two seat version will use a conventional fabric style
Current production delivery times are 8 to 10 weeks from placement of
order, by late summer Ron hopes to have kits on hand for delivery.
For more information contact:
Thunderbird Aviation Inc.
50230 Mile End Dr.
Shelby Twp Mi 48317
The following can be found at: http://www.av8r.net/issues/march96/top12.htm
Sorrell Hiperlight SNS-8
Sorrell Hiperlight may be one of the cutest ultralights ever
built... if not the most ingenious. This negative stagger ultralight
is a honey of a taildragger and an obedient flyer. When powered by
the single-cylinder Rotax 277, the SNS-8 has been proven to be a
legal Part 103 ultralight. The 247-lb Hiperlight has a single
enclosed seat with a throw-over canopy and conventional center stick
control. A novel flaperon mechanism lowers the flaperons anytime
serious positive pitch is pulled and serves nicely to ameliorate
Even with the little one-lung, 28-hp Rotax, the SNS-8 performs
well (and mind you, this bird was test-flown initially out of a tiny
mountainside strip that would give some helicopters the
heebie-jeebies). Takeoff roll is 175' (true), landing requires the
same. The rate of climb is quoted as 650 fpm and I can verify over
600 fpm even on warm days. The Hiperlight totes 5 gal of fuel (good
for as much as 200 mph on the miserly 277), can carry over 250 lbs
total useful load, and can be had for less than $11,000.
The bird cruises at 50 to 60 mph but really has a hard time
getting to the top speed of Part 103 (63 mph); it hits a
"drag" wall at 60 mph. I found the handling delightful.
Pitch is light but linear, the rudder is quite responsive, the
ailerons are a bit more rowdy than the ultralight norm... but not
too much for a well-briefed novice. The stability and control
profile is somewhat positive in pitch, quasi-neutral in roll, and
very positive in yaw. The static properties of pitch are laudable
and the wing can be picked up, in flight, with aggressive yaw
inducement. There is a mild stall with a perceptible break at about
24 to 26 mph, but there is little tendency toward asymmetric
nastiness and the recovery is simply a matter of pointing the nose
back towards terra firma. You can get the Hiperlight to spin if you
work at it, and the bird will recover of its own accord if you turn
it loose. Visibility in flight is pretty sweet because the cabin has
so much Lexan all over the place, even on the lower sides of the
cabin on the side of either leg... and the ground viz suffers
surprisingly little from the taildragger stance. Ground handling is
quite obedient and anyone with a few solo hours of taildragger time
will acclimate swiftly to the Hiperlight.
The welded steel tube fuselage and fabric-covered kit is fairly
simple by most standards. Construction time is quoted at 125 hours
but 200 seems more realistic, from what we've heard. At the same
time, you get one of the more rugged birds in the biz in return for
a little longer build time. Do be advised that the Hiperlight is
supported by a good but small company with only a few folks
providing the necessary backup (so expect a wait to get what you
need now and then). Still, the bird is a sweetheart and the Sorrells
certainly try hard.
Sorrell Hiperlight SNS-8
ZOOM REPORT: There's not a like not to like about the
little Sorrell Hiperlight. It looks cuter than the dickens, has a
distinctly sporty feel in the air, and handles short strips very
well. I've always liked this one and even with the little engine,
it's a great performer.
USA Aircraft Ratings: Sorrell Hiperlight SNS-8
- Design/Engineering: B+. Some great features.
- Ground Handling: B. No surprises.
- Flight Characteristics: A-. Pretty nice handling.
- Company Profile: C+. Very small company.
- Kit/Plans: B.
- Bang for the Buck: A-.
- Risk Factor: 4.
- Final Grade: B+. Highly Recommended.