Bush airplanes are the SUVs of general aviation—small, piston-engined aircraft designed or adapted to carry a passenger or two, or to ferry light cargo in and out of remote areas with crude or non-existent runways. DRACO's PT6 will also run on diesel and other fuel mixes, which potentially makes it more of a bush plane.

Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Ars Technica Addendum (effective 8/21/2018). The changes were so extensive that the FAA had to approve the conversion as an experimental exhibition aircraft.

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fastest bush plane. The turbine Mike had in mind was a 680 shaft-hp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-28, a powerplant found in dozens of modern turboprop aircraft. We grew up that way, and, despite being poor, we were unbelievably happy," he said. However, experience has shown certain traits to be desirable, and so they appear frequently, especially on aircraft specifically designed as bush planes. In its death throes, the engine made a final burst of power, allowing Patey to just make it to a cornfield. Vintage high-wing airplanes like the iconic Piper Super Cub (debuted in 1949), Cessna 180 (1952), or Maule M-7 (1984) join modern STOL airplanes like the Kitfox S7 Sti or Cub Crafters' Carbon Cub around camp fires atop mountain plateaus or at STOL competitions where pilots vie for honors with the shortest takeoff and landing distances and lowest stall speeds. The airplane Patey set down in the field was based on the PZL-104 Wilga, a relatively large four-seat Polish bush plane designed in the 1960s for STOL aviation uses. All rights reserved. To really understand what went into it, watching Patey's series of build videos on YouTube is worthwhile—and not just for the technical detail. There's endless debate among pilots about which plane is best for this task or that adventure.

But DRACO can fly high.

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By himself. The engine swap was complemented by adding a 102-inch, four-blade MT propeller to harness the PT6's power. A bush airplane is a general aviation aircraft used to provide both scheduled and unscheduled passenger and flight services to remote, undeveloped areas, such as the Canadian north or bush, Alaskan tundra, the African bush, Amazon rainforest or the Australian Outback.

For comparison, take the popular Carbon Cub STOL airplane. Patey was flying a Wilga 2000 like this when it suffered an engine failure that gave him the idea to build the DRACO. Join the Ars Orbital Transmission mailing list to get weekly updates delivered to your inbox. They are used where ground transportation infrastructure is inadequate or does not exist.[1]. © 2020 Condé Nast. At higher elevations, instead of doubling its [takeoff] roll to 800 feet, it gets up to 2,000 feet when I'm up on an 8,000 foot mountain top. At this year's EAA AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, many were calling the DRACO the ultimate bush plane. Suddenly, its piston engine blew, throwing two connecting rods. "I have a plane that can go to 28,000 feet and do 180mph cross-country with four people and gear. It uses a turbine instead of a piston engine, and can take off in just 110 feet at sea level. It was the excitement of finishing a job. - Aug 11, 2018 2:25 pm UTC. This is the PZL-104 Wilga, which was the basis for the Wilga 2000, and therefore the grandparent of the DRACO? A Bonnier Corporation Company. None of these traits are mandatory - merely they are commonly seen features of bush planes. But for Mike—a serial entrepreneur who founded and ran a deck/gazebo-building company with 200 employees by the age of 18 and later built a successful rapid-prototyping firm (Prodigy Engineering)—the opportunity to work is a joy. ", High altitudes degraded the performance of the Wilga's relatively small cantilever wing as well.

Patey upgraded the brakes and added 35-inch main gear tires. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast.

With a cruising speed of 370 km/h TAS, the aircraft is ideal for long-distance flights.

Flying may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site. At the elevations in his local Utah back country, Mike's Wilga 2000 lost 45 to 70 horsepower, significantly extending its takeoff distance. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Like any piston engine, its power diminishes as altitude increases. Like most bush planes, it wasn't optimized for high-altitude flying. With no altitude for gliding, he had to land fast. Before its conversion, the Wilga took off in 400 feet, landed in 280 feet, and stalled at 57mph (92km/h). The DRACO, a bush plane designed and built by Mike Patey in five months. Posted on 15 Settembre 2020 by .

All rights reserved. The STOL class excludes vertical takeoff and landing ( VTOL ) types, rotorcraft , aerostats and most light aircraft . DRACO is twice its size—a 2,500 pound (1,360kg) four-seater that can take off in 97 feet, land in 110 feet, and stall at about 36mph.

You must login or create an account to comment. But at the huge 2018 EAA AirVenture annual airshow at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a couple of weeks ago, Utah entrepreneur Mike Patey showed up with what many are now calling "the ultimate bush plane.". Ad Choices. Patey says people are most delighted by how squat the bush plane looks on its articulated suspension when he throttles up for takeoff. Aviation museums with large collections of bush planes, "Bush planes used in areas where roads do not exist", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bush_plane&oldid=982969604, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 11 October 2020, at 13:34. It uses a turbine instead of a piston engine, and can take off in just 110 feet at sea level. For even the most sophisticated DIY-ers, the project Patey undertook should have taken years. This is Cub Crafters' Carbon Cub, a modern short takeoff and landing bush plane.

About 70% of these planes currently sold are to utility and passenger aircraft purchasers. "Our parents taught us that if you started a project, no matter how much you disliked it, you finished it. They're in use everywhere from the Alaskan Tundra to the Australian Outback to the African bush. WIRED Media Group

Last year, Mike Patey was flying his Wilga 2000 low over Utah Lake for a photo shoot with a group of other bush planes.

He completed it in five months.

Ironically, DRACO has made the tens of thousands who have seen it fly online and in-person at Oshkosh happy. A Carbon Cub climbs at 2,000 FPM and cruises at about 115mph (185km/h) around 5,000 feet.

Garmin Brings Out Upgrades to G500/G600 TXi Models, EAA’s B-17 “Aluminum Overcast” Again Making Public Tour Stops, FlightSafety Offers King Air 360 Pilot Courses in Tampa, First New DA40 NG Delivered in the Caribbean Region, Gulfstream Shows Off Interior, Sustainability, and Range Improvements, LightHawk Flies Through 2020, Recognizes Pilots, Tamarack Aerospace Expands With First Installation in the UK, Navy Orders One-day Stand-down Following Two Accidents. Patey had been dissatisfied with the Wilga's Lycoming for some time. Sign up or login to join the discussions! Your California Privacy Rights | Do Not Sell My Personal Information In fact, Patey designed and installed a four-passenger oxygen system that allows him to take advantage of PT6's performance at altitude. He opted for a new digital cockpit with autopilot, infrared night vision, and a backup camera, totally new wiring, heating and electrical systems, and HID landing lights from a 737 airliner. A small two-seater weighing 1,023 pounds (464kg) empty, it can take off at sea level in just 110 feet, land in 140 feet, and stall at 36mph (58km/h). Since a bush plane is defined by how it is used, a wide variety of different aircraft with different configurations have been used over the years as such. Whatever you call it, the result is astounding. DRACO will climb at 4,000 feet-per-minute (FPM) and cruise at 180mph (290km/h) at 16,000 feet. Ars may earn compensation on sales from links on this site.

He acknowledges that it's expensive, but it's what he dreamed of. Yet I can take it where a Carbon Cub can go," he told Ars. A few have questioned whether DRACO—which cost around $1 million to build not counting Patey's time and which runs on jet fuel rather than more common 100 octane gasoline—can even really be considered a bush plane? Traditionally the tool of professional bush pilots, bush planes have recently become highly enjoyable toys for a cadre of enthusiasts. I have seen this plane do things that I never thought possible in aircraft, this is why it is my best!The Kodiak, competition of the Caravan, looks very similar to the C208.

That was only the beginning of a long list of modifications, from redesigned longer, wider wings (plus-12 inches span, plus-11 inches chord), elevators, and rudder to bigger wing fuel tanks and special landing gear-leg tanks.

Standing by his airplane in the corn rows, Patey said aloud, "I'm going to fix this thing, get it out of here, and then it needs a turbine.". Fascinated by the low, slow off-airport, back-country flying which their STOL (short takeoff and landing) qualities make possible, private pilots have sought out bush planes for recreation.

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