Earthstar Odyssey experimental aircraft, Earthstar Odyssey experimental lightsport aircraft, Earthstar Odyssey homebuilt aircraft, Earthstar Odyssey amateur built aircraft, Lightsport Aircraft Pilot News newsmagazine.

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Earthstar Odyssey experimental aircraft, experimental lightsport aircraft, amateur built aircraft.


Earthstar Aircraft
Thunder Gull Odyssey

Every now and then, an old dog (sorry Mark... I couldn't resist the metaphor) can teach the rest of us some new tricks.

In this case, Mark Beierle, a truly first-generation ultralight designer, has taken one of his tried-and-true designs and tweaked it in some interesting ways to come up with a novel and exciting new aircraft, the Earthstar Odyssey.

Mark Beierle, head of tiny little Earthstar Aircraft, has been building a series of single- and two-place Thundergulls for more than a decade.

His latest creation, an offset side-by-side two-seater called the Odyssey, is simply one of the most impressive light aircraft I've flown in quite the while.

The 17.7' long Odyssey stands just 5.5' high and has a span of 26'. The wing has 127 sq ft of wing area and is equipped with generously proportion flaps and ailerons. The cantilever wing is stressed to +6 and -4 G. It has a top speed of 115 mph, a cruise of 87 mph, and a stall of 34 mph. The Odyssey will get airborne in 200' and needs 175' for landing. It climbs at 900 fpm. It has a glide ratio of 11:1.

With 10 gal of fuel, the Odyssey has a maxim range of 270 miles. The empty weight is420 lbs., gross is 1000 lbs., and with a useful load of 580 lbs. and a cabin width of 39", big pilots are not only welcome, but will also be fairly comfy. Service ceiling is 15,500'.

The Odyssey has doors on both sides of the low-slung fuselage and while you have to stoop to get in, it's a fairly comfortable entry. Mark has selected a shared "throw-over" control system similar to the cyclic on a Robinson helicopter that becomes comfortable in just a few minutes. Equipped with a 52-hp Rotax 503 the Odyssey is a rather pretty machine. The bird has an all-metal wing with generous ailerons, dual controls, low-slung trike gear, fairly clean lines.

The Thunder Gull Odyssey is made of tubing, fabric, sheet metal, and boasts easily detachable wings. The kit will take 300 hours to complete. Notable options include larger engines, parachutes, instruments, and side windows. Earth-star has a builder assistance program, a newsletter, and a dealer network to assist its builders.
 FMI: Earthstar Aircraft, Star Route Box 313, Santa Margarita, CA 93453; (805) 438-5235

ZOOM REPORT: Neat airplane! Flight controls are smooth and offer little mechanical friction and good aerodynamic feedback. Pitch stability is very good with well-defined static margins and a pretty tight dynamic cycle that tamed itself from a 20? displacement (at cruise) in under three cycles.

Short-period stability is totally deadbeat and impressive. Lateral/directional coupling and stability are very impressive with good dihedral effect noted and positive behavior from both yaw and roll. Short-period investigations revealed notably tight behavior. Overall response is quite agile, the roll rate is aggressive, and adverse yaw is modest. There is a neat pitch trim system under the right seat that uses a little twist knob to offer fine-tuned pitch actuation and I found it to be quite helpful in holding trimmed attitudes accurately.

Flap extensions are nearly devoid of overt pitch trim displacement and the drag produced by full flaps is considerable. Stalls (about 35 mph IAS) are really sweet, well directed, plenty of yaw control, and a decidedly mild break has to be coaxed to get it over the top. A slight rudder dissymmetry showed little disposition toward autorotation. Landings are child's play, especially since the bird slips well on final and excess altitude and airspeed can be thrown out easily. Crosswinds are also easily handled. I am extremely impressed with this bird. It's cute, roomy, carries a heck of a load, and it flies better than many general aviation trainers. Mark's got a solid winner on his hands with this critter.

Design/Engineering: A-.

Ground Handling: B+.

Flight Characteristics: A: A truly nice flying airplane, great handling.

Earthstar Odyssey experimental lightsport aircraft specifications and performance
Horsepower: 53 hp
Fuel Capacity: 10 gal 38 L
Range: 300 nm 556 km 345 mi
Cruise: 76 kts 141 kmh 87 mph
Stall: 32 kts 59 kmh 37 mph
Climb: 900 ft/min 4.6 m/sec
Ceiling: 15,500 ft 4,724 m
Takeoff Distance: 200 ft 61 m
Landing Distance: 175 ft 53 m
Gross Weight: 1,000 lbs 454 kg
Empty Weight: 420 lbs 191 kg
Useful Load: 580 lbs 263 kg
Wingspan: 26 ft 7.92 m  
Length: 17.8 ft 5.43 m
Height: 5.5 ft 1.68 m

Earthstar Odyssey experimental aircraft, Earthstar Odyssey experimental lightsport aircraft, Earthstar Odyssey homebuilt aircraft, Earthstar Odyssey amateur built aircraft, Lightsport Aircraft Pilot News newsmagazine.
Earthstar Odyssey experimental homebuilt lightsport aircraft

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