|Loehle Sport Parasol Air Camper
That's all we can say about the price tag attached to Loehle's
high-wing, strut-braced Parasol.
A taildragger, the uncomplicated single-place ultralight may be
bargain-priced, but it sure delivers in terms of performance and
handling. The Loehle Parasol's design is based upon the concept of
placing the pilot directly under the center of lift on the wing;
the result is no change in CG, regardless of pilot weight. One
need only balance the weight of the back half of the airplane
against the weight of the front—i.e., the powerplant—to get her
off the ground.
In addition to the bargain-basement price, other advantages to
the Sport Parasol include respectable STOL capabilities (takeoff
100'; landing 150'), adjustable rudder pedals, and (again we go
back to economics!) 2- to 3-gph fuel consumption.
Hit the power and (with a Rotax 447), you're in for some fun.
Powerplant options range from 28 to 50 hp, by the way. There is
plenty of rudder to counter torque and the Parasol hits the skies
with a vengeance at over 1000 fpm and 45 mph. In my experience,
the run-up to 1000' went quickly where the Parasol revealed a
well-behaved stall at 30 mph. The stall was announced by plenty of
aerodynamic warning and a mild break that offered no drop-off to
either side without first receiving a shot of rudder. Full power,
the 447-powered parasol got going at 75 mph, tops, but cruised
quite nicely at 60 mph and only 5000 rpm.
Heading in, I kept 50 mph on the downwind and worked my way
down to 40 mph over the fence, where the Parasol floated nicely to
the threshold and responded to a bit of slip as though I had
thrown an anchor over the side—this thing slips really well. In
both two- and three-point attitudes, the Parasol offered excellent
ground tracking and a few one-wheel touchdowns in the calm air
showed there was plenty of aileron to counter future crosswinds.
Landings terminated in well under 500' which, after a little
practice, could be cut down if needed. Nice.
Loehle Sport Parasol Air Camper
ZOOM REPORT: All in all, the extremely affordable Loehle
Parasol (a scrounger could build one for as little as $4000) is a
big hit at the Zoom Family Ranch. I expected a very pleasant flyer
with adequate power and handling. Instead, I found it pleasant to
fly while still possessing a spirit as playful as some birds with
more rowdy reps. Funny thing, though, I'd have absolutely no
problem letting loose any recently soloed taildragger pilot in
this thing... no dirty tricks, no bad habits.
USA Aircraft Ratings: Loehle Sport Parasol Air Camper
- Design/Engineering: B.
- Ground Handling: B. A pretty mellow taildragger.
- Flight Characteristics: B+. Surprisingly aggressive little
- Company Profile: B+.
- Kit/Plans: B.
- Bang for the Buck: A. It doesn't get much cheaper than this.
- Risk Factor: 4.
- Final Grade: B+. Highly Recommended.