Big Engines, Huge Payloads -- And Speed...

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Exploring The Flying SUV...

While petroleum pundits forecast $3.00 per gallon at the pumps, headlines claim demand and immediate gratification have outpaced production of hybrid autos (used models are selling for more than spots on a waiting list). In aviation, we have fuel-sipping and generally less-expensive to operate LSA aircraft spilling over the horizon -- but proving there is no cure for horsepower kit aircraft manufacturers have embraced the SUV. At Sun 'n Fun 2005, a collection of high-wing heavy-hauling fast-flying fixed-gear kit aircraft aim to offer everything even a Lycoming IO-720 (at 400 hp) has to offer. In one case, that translates to a 2300lb useful load and cruise of 206 mph for the price of a used 206 ... plus countless hours of build time. There are more modest offerings -- and both save cost and performance ... if not so much fuel. Barr Aircraft's BARR6 may sit in (or near) the piston power throne posting the previously listed numbers with a guppy-like fuselage slung below a 35-foot span that will lift the beast's 4500 lb gross weight in 900 feet. The aircraft claims a stall at 62 mph and gross-weight landing run of 750 feet. The build is fiberglass.