August 16, 2007 Despite the preconceptions of affluence, private aviation is gradually descending from the realm of John Travolta into the realm of Joe Average. Due to improving airplane technology and increasing disposable income, ultra-light aircraft, experimental aircraft and private owned jets are increasing in popularity to the point where Keith Phillips, member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, claims that the door is now open to anyone who wants to fly. Joining the Ramphos in lending weight to this argument is the Storch Amphibian - a light weight amphibious sporting plane available in kit form for AUD$57,200, or fully assembled and ready to fly for AUD$92,500.

Ultra-light planes, known in the US as light sport aircraft, are perfect for the enthusiast that doesn’t wish to make the large commitment required by a private jet, or take the more unorthodox road of experimental airplanes. Their simplicity and stability has led to ultra light aircraft accounting for around 20% of the civil aircraft fleet in most first world countries. Amphibious sporting planes have an extra level of appeal in that they can take off and land from the ground or water, greatly increasing their versatility and making it far easier to take them out for a spin.

The pioneering ultra-light aircraft was initially developed in the early 1990s and is completely made by composite fibres. The Storch has experienced international success - in Italy more than 300 are flying and being easy to fly, they are an attractive proposition for flight schools.

The 6.84 metre long plane has a wingspan of 10.14 metres and an empty weight of 320 kilograms. For take off it requires a strip of either 65 metres of ground, or 145 metres of water, and once in the air it hits a cruising speed of 145 kph. The Storch has a 58 litre fuel capacity and consumes fuel at a rate of 16 litres per hour.

Fitted with the Jabiru 2200 four stroke 80 Hp engine, the Storch CL Amphibian is available as a fly away aircraft for AUD$92,500.

The “FLY SYNTHESIS” amphibious system was developed by Engineers in the Research & Development department at Fly Synthesis Italy. During flight and whilst in water, the principal landing gear is stowed inside the hulls reducing drag. During a landing on an airstrip the landing gear can be operated and lowered through the manual control.

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