- Aug 10, 2010
- Reaction score
Finally had the opportunity at this weekends' Old Station Flyin at Raglan Qld, to try on the Ninja aircraft. I had been wanting to do so for sometime. Dealer Greg Robertson was happy to offer me either seat, so I chose the left. Around 7 am as we strapped in the wind was probabily gusting 1o-12 kts crosswind from the left. The Ninja has interested me for sometime as the perfect aircraft for either the entry- level or experienced pilot looking for a good efficient cross- country aircraft. Another big advantage is it is available in kit form, which can save the buyer some cash.
The airframe is alum tube construction with wire bracing internally on the wings and other areas. The rear section of the fuselage is composite giving the aircraft a very clean, modern and strong appearance. The wings are strut- braced with neat composite upturned wing tips. There are numerourous other composite fairings on the control surfaces and of course the engine cowlings are also composite.
Anyone questioning the alum tube wire- braced type construction may be reassured by the many other designs throughout the years which have demonstrated the strength and lightness of this method of construction ...globally. It offers lightness, considerable strength, and ease of repair or replacement if needed, plus has a very good safety record over many years.
The Ninja is of course powered with a Rotax 912 80 or 100 HP and is a great aircraft with either. On our aircraft a 3- blade Warpdrive was fitted.
The 912 started normally as usual and as we warmed up I found the cabin and seating very adequate, the visability most impressive, and the stubby centre stick and throttle very well placed for comfort. The main hydrylic wheel brakes are quite effective, and operated by a single lever mounted on the foward edge of the control stick. I am used to foot brakes in my current Lightwing, but I had no trouble getting used to this set up at all having previously used the same setup in Drifters. The Ninja also has flaps, however we decided on a no- flap takeoff and landing due the current conditions.
The main fuel tank on the standard Ninja is behind the seats however Greg has developed addition alum tanks which can also be fitted into the wing- roots, and then used in conjunction with a generous sump tank behind the seats. Total quantity is around the 100 Ltr mark if my memory serves me well, which should easily give around four hours endurance with reserve.
I lined up on Old Stations 06 and poured in some coals while doing my best to keep her on runway line in the strong crosswind conditions. She handled it all very well and all controls have good authority especially the rudder.
Once airborne I levelled around 1000' AGL in bumpy conditions which is a good test of any aircraft. Once level she showed a good tendency to achieve the claimed 90 kt level cruise speed at 5000 rpms which with two up shows real good overall design.
The aircraft is nicely responsive to all controls, and has a very solid trustworthy feel to it which should make flying it easy for most pilots regardless of experience. I did a tight observation turn around a house below which once again impressed me with the overall solid feel of the airframe and controls.
We returned then to the field so I could attend the RAA question and answer session with the CEO at 8 am. The approach seemed pretty normal with a very noticable increase in speed once the nose was dropped, once again showing how slick the design is. Even in the gusty conditions the throttle was at idle as we came across the fence, with no problem maintaining safety approach speed. Once in the flare the crosswind wanted to push me off the strip, but there was no lack of control authority to counteract it. In retrospect I probabily should have utilised more rudder, but the touchdown wasn't too bad for first landing in type in those conditions, with the aircraft probabily handling it better than I did.
I left the aircraft very impressed and satisfied, with no major negatives on the aircraft at all, and particularly impressed with the solid feel and control, and just how well the little centre stick works. As I suspected a very nice and capable aircraft which will certainly do well in our Australian fleet. With the additional wing- mounted fuel tanks the Ninja is very capable of long cross- country flying which Greg and others have already amply demonstrated many times. The seating and comfortable cabin should also have you arriving in pretty good shape.
Thanks for the fly Greg.......highly recommended as far as I am concerned.