Aeroplane Monthly, August 1982
Introducing the Ben-Air Sparrowhawk
For nearly 50 years aircraft designers have been trying to produce a low-cost, two-seat light aeroplane requiring minimum, easy maintenance with minimal, operating costs. Microlights to some extent have ДальшеMore>>>
provided half the answer but perhaps only appeal to the spartan aviator and those who cannot afford to get airborne by any other means. With the use of lighter, stronger materials the concept of a low-cost, practical two-seat lightplane has come closer to becoming a reality.
A group of former British Aerospace and Britten-Norman designers have designed the Ben-Air 12/35 Sparrowhawk which they claim can be bought and operated for about one third the cost of a conventional two-seater. The Shropshire-based company hopes to put the Sparrowhawk into production during the summer.
The Sparrowhawk’s two occupants sit side-by-side in an enclosed cabin, and as well as conventional tricycle undercarriage, will have toe brakes, flaps, dual controls and proper instrumentation. Construction combines heat-moulded glassfibre wings and tail unit with a light alloy structure and tail booms for the rear fuselage. A pusher propeller is driven by a newly developed two-stroke two cylinder aluminium engine of around 32 h.p.
The Sparrowhawk weighs only 265lb empty and comes within the new microlight specification, though will be built to conventional light aircraft airworthiness standards. Estimated cruising speed is 55kt, rate of climb 550ft/min and the stalling speed, with flaps down, is 23kt. Fuel consumption is an estimated 1gal/hr. The wingspan of the Sparrowhawk is 39-4ft, seven feet more than a Piper Cherokee, and the length is 20-3ft. Maximum weight, is 660lb.
A price of £6,500 is being quoted for the Sparrowhawk and any enquiries should be directed to Ben-Air Ltd, Candover Industrial Estate, Candover, Shrewsbury.