Pipistrel Claims LSA "First" With Taurus
Pipistrel has announced the Taurus LSA, claiming it's the "first ever high-performance two-seat self-launching glider," and the company is encouraging green-minded pilots to inquire about the company's electric version. The standard aircraft is heavy on advanced systems, including a flip-and-forget switch for retracting or extending the internally stowed powerplant and a mass trim system that drives "trim fluid" to different parts of the aircraft to properly balance it for single- or dual-occupant flight. The aircraft also carries a Kevlar-reinforced cockpit structure and a huge clear canopy, and can be fitted with an optional full-plane parachute system. Pipistrel claims a 41:1 glide ratio and says the aircraft can easily achieve a 78-knot cruise with its standard 50-hp Rotax that burns 3.1 gph when turned up for 90 knots. Those numbers hold firm for the aptly named Taurus Electro (the electric-powered version), according to the company, which offers more interesting technology in the Taurus package not usually seen in an LSA, or the Taurus' price range.
Other unusual features of the Taurus include in-flight accessible baggage areas (with separate space for oxygen) located behind both in-flight adjustable cockpit seats. The aircraft also features "five-stage flaperons" that improve performance at both high and low speeds. The aircraft's wingspan comes in at just under 50 feet and is supported by conventional retractable main gear (the steerable tailwheel does not retract). The price -- with either electric or combustion power -- starts near $110,000, but you'll probably want radios.