Q: Is Ion Aircraft associated with the old DreamWings company or its former president?
A: NO! Ion was formed by the CUSTOMERS of the now-defunct DreamWings. Please read the Program History page.
Q: Will your plane fit in a trailer?
A: The wings ARE removable, but we think the whole "store-your-plane-in-a-trailer-to-save-hangar-costs" idea is a seductive but bad plan.
Q: What engine is specified for the Ion-100?
A: Builders will have a choice of three pre-approved installations, or builders can use the engine of their choice--provided it weighs less than 225 pounds (102 Kg) wet.
The three pre-approved installations are:
Q: Why those three engines?
A: In order:
- The Rotax is the de facto world standard engine for this type of project. It's a known quantity.
- The Jabiru is a darn nice engine, it is a nice light-weight installation and is decently priced.
- The O-200 is a good fit for the airplane, it's been around for approximately 5,000 years, and Continental has rolled out an updated version specifically for Light Sport aircraft. Note that the O-200 is air cooled and this is tricky in a pusher.
Q: My engine choice is not on the list, or it weighs over 225 pounds (102 Kg) wet . . . what are my options?
A: You will have to talk to our engineers, and you might have to pay for them to do a little math. As you know, weight and balance are crucial aviation safety issues, and we don't want you trying to fly around in an unsafe airplane. An overweight engine can probably be counter-ballasted, but it will cut into your useful load.
Q: Can these airplanes be put on skis or floats?
A: We are sympathetic to the question, because it would be really fun--but no, we don't think it's a good idea.
One problem with pushers is that the prop will ingest anything and everything kicked up by the landing gear. Even snow hitting the leading edge of a spinning prop would quickly erode or otherwise damage the prop--a piece of ice would be about the same as a rock. For similar reasons we think floats aren't in your best interests, either.
. . . Grass strips?
We also get asked about flying this plane from a grass strip. Sure, the plane can be flown from grass. And if it is a well maintained, mowed field without big ruts and divots you are probably fine. But if that prop hits a kicked-up cow pie or even a clod of wet grass, it's really going to do a number on the prop.
Always remember that at take-off power, a 66 inch prop will have a tip speed of over 600 miles per hour, and depending on the OAT that is a significant percentage of Mach 1. That's a lot if impact force even if the object is light weight. Protect that prop!
Q: Is Ion Aircraft fully funded and proceeding full speed ahead?
A: "No" to Part I, and "yes" to Part II. To date we have built a monument to what can be done by a disciplined program without a lot of money. We still need to raise a pretty big chunk of money to finish the program. If by any chance you like what you see here and want to talk about investing your hard earned money with us, please drop us a line.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What skills do I need to build this plane as a kit?
A: You need to be competent to measure accurately, cut accurately, drill accurately, squeeze a rivet (yes, there are a few rivets) as well as some very basic composite skills.
It is the composite skills that seem to scare lots of folks. First off, it really is not very hard once you have been shown how to do it. Secondly, we have made arrangements to show you how to do it. Once we begin selling kits, one of our contractors will be offering hands-on seminars over the course of a 3 day weekend. By the end of the seminar you will be perfectly competent to tape a seam, mix Hysol and put in a hard point, which are the only three composite skills you need.
Q: Why did Ion back off from retractable gear as an option?
A: Because it wasn't a very good idea. The main reasons that folks will tell you they want retracts is 1) performance and 2) it's cool.
The first one is tough because it's hard to convince people that properly faired landing gear reduces drag almost as much as retracting the gear altogether. It's not a popular thing to say, but it is very true. Bearing in mind that retracts get heavy, complicated and expensive, while wheel pants and leg fairings are light, simple and relatively cheap, it's actually a simple choice. And your insurance thanks you, as well.
As to the second point, it is hard to argue with the the cool factor so we don't. It would indeed be super cool.
We are looking at doing a retractable nose gear down the road, similar to the Rutan EZ's. The insurance guys don't get excited and the nose gear is much harder to fair than the mains, so it does make some practical sense.
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