First Vietnamese-Manufactured Ultralight Flies

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VAM-1Now, it may be something thousands of people in North America have done in their shops and hangars, but you have to start somewhere, right? The Vietnamese ultralight industry was launched on Dec. 8 with a plane based on a kit design called the Beaver, made by Aircraft Sales and Parts, of Vernon, B.C., Canada. The completion of the snappy-looking pusher “manufactured” by the Vietnam Mechanics Association made all the papers there. The association says about 20 percent of the parts for the first airplane were made in Vietnam. The State Council for Science and Technology, the Ministry of National Defense and the Air Defense Force were in on the testing of the VAM-1, which took three test hops from Nuoc Trong airport in Long Thanh district of southern Dong Nai province.

The VAM-1 is based on ASAP’s Beaver RX 550, a popular kit-built ultralight that’s been manufactured in Vernon since 1996. The first test model of the Vietnamese-built version flew in 2003. Build time is listed by ASAP as 180 to 200 hours and top speed with the biggest engine (Rotax 582) is 85 mph. The Vietnamese say they’re already at work on an improved version of the plane, designated the VAM-2, but no details were available, nor was there any indication of whether the planes will be sold in Vietnam.