Innovation was alive and well at AERO Friedrichshafen, which showcased plenty of new and novel ideas and designs. One of the more interesting aircraft on display included a composite-based turboprop five-seat amphibian from Hungarian builder Avana Industries Ltd. It looks like a Seawind on steroids. At the other end of the scale was the German-made, two-seat, Rotax-powered Dornier S-Ray 007 that made a subtle appearance at Oshkosh in 2007. Out of Hungary again came another amphibian, the two-seat Hydropteron LSA from IDEA Aircraft, which has Rotax power and is equipped with a ballistic parachute. The Em11 Orka from Poland was on display. It looks like an amphibian, but isn't. This striking four-seat high-winged twin is a pusher propelled by two counter-rotating Lycoming IO-320 engines driving three-blade constant speed props that give a 142-knot cruise at 75 percent power.
There were plenty of gliders filling the exhibit halls and none stood out more than the intriguing jet-powered offering from Italian company Alisport Srl. Its Silent 2 Targa has a retractable single-stage axial jet engine that's not much bigger than a football. Out of Italy, too, were LSA examples from FlySynthesis, makers of the two-seat Texan and Storch, and now the newly announced Rotax 912-powered Syncro. Showing off its latest and lightest, too, was Flight Design with its new CT Supralight LSA. It offers a combination of the aerodynamically optimized wings from the CTLS adapted to the lighter CT fuselage.