Frequently Asked Questions

1. Running Cost

Most of the engines installed burn fuel at a rate of approximately 12 – 17 Litres / hour normal car fuel. The highest cost on engine maintenance is about R 80.00/hour excluding fuel on a 2000 hour TBO (Time between overhauls). The yearly AP inspection is between R700 and R3500/year.

2. Maintenance

The BUSHBABY/Explorer and Safari is classified as a Non-Certified type aircraft (NTCA), which means that the owner/builder is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the aircraft. (Saving on expensive AMO costs). The aircraft must have a yearly inspection by an Approved Person (AP).

3. Insurance

Although there is no regulation regarding third party insurance, it is advisable to carry third party insurance. Comprehensive insurance can be obtained from various companies that specialize in aviation insurance.

4. Pilot Licenses

The BUSHBABY may be registered as a Microlight or Light Aircraft. The Microlight pilot’s license (MPL) consists of a minimum 25 hours of training. The private pilots license (PPL) consists of a minimum of 40 hours training.

5. Fabric Covering

The covering of the aircraft is the most rewarding part (next to the maiden flight) of the project and contrary to popular belief anyone can do covering. We use the time-tested method of polyester fabric with nitrate and butyrate sealers and butyrate paints. The fabric is pulled tightly over and attached to the fuselage with special fabric cement. The fabric is then heat shrunk until tight. The sealer is applied to the fabric.

6. Light Aircraft of Microlight

The difference between the Microlight and Light aircraft is purely weight. The microlights maximum all up weight is 450 Kg while the light aircraft is 550 Kg. The Microlight empty-weight may not exceed 248Kg. If fitted with the 2-stroke motor the empty weight should be well under 248kg. The light aircraft has no minimum empty weight. Keeping the empty weight as light as possible is important (no unnecessary instruments and gadgets) as this means a heavier payload can be carried.

7. Kit Packaging & Transportation

The total kit can be transported with a 6′ Venter trailer. All large components are packed into the fuselage, while the smaller components are packed in smaller boxes. The fuselage is fastened onto the roof of the trailer and all the other components are placed inside the trailer. Most builders opt to come and collect the kit as this enables them to meet the staff at KIT PLANES.

8. Special Skills or Tools

The BUSHBABY kit comes complete with all the specialized work already done. All welding is done, the ribs are cut, and the flapperons come completed. All the builder makes are small brackets out of the supplied aluminium and steel strips. Following is a list of most of the tools needed: steel files, electric drill and stand, 3.2, 6, 8 & 10min drill bits, 10, 13 & 17mm spanners, steel rule and measuring tape, pop rivet gun, clothes iron, small bench vice, hole countersink, spirit levels, steel etch primer, paint brush, carpet knife Optional tools: (nice to have but not essential) Angle grinder or power file, orbital sander, drill press, bench grinder, cordless drill and belt sander.

9. Engine Option

The BUSHBABY powered by the 582 ROTAX is the best combination available. The Explorer also flies well with a Rotax 582 but a 912 UL or a Jabiru 2200 is recommended.  The Safari performs best with a Jabiru 3300 as well as a Rotax 912 ULS but will fly as a LSA with the 912 UL and ULS

10. Taildragger or Tri-Cycle Undercarriage

The majority of BUSHBABY’s are tail draggers. The aircraft was designed to operate out of rough fields, thus the tail dragger configuration. The tri-cycle undercarriage is best suited for prepared runways. Most people forget that all earlier aircraft where tail draggers and that every air force pilot started on tail draggers. Compared to the tri-cycle aircraft the tail dragger aircraft is more challenging to fly and once mastered the pilot will wonder what all the fuss was about.

11. Building Information

The following is a brief explanation on work done in each kit.

Fuselage kit: remove all sharp points on welded on tabs, install floor boards, assemble and install the control column, install flapperon bell cranks, install rudder pedals and cables, assemble and install elevator and horizontal stab and fit doors and door windows.

Landing gear kit: assemble and fit rims, hubs and brake drums to the axles. Install brake-baking plate, fit legs to the fuselage, install axle to legs. Assemble and install a nose wheel or tail wheel.

Wing kit: make trestles for wing building, sand ribs, clean spars and mark rib position on spars, epoxy ribs onto spar. Install rib supports; wing bracing, false ribs, tanks, wing tips. Varnish wood, mate wings to fuselage and rig the flapperons.

Cover and finish: manufacture and install roof & firewall. Fit firewall back cowl, instrument panel, dashboard, windscreen and seat. Cover all with fabric.

Engine kit: fit engine mount to fuselage and install engine onto mount. Install all engine accessories (exhaust, radiators, oil coolers) Fit engine cowl and install other accessories. (Fuel pumps, carb heat boxes, air filters, battery, etc.)

12. Finance

At present we recommend that owners wishing to finance a completed Bushbaby contact their finance institutions. Currently most financial institutions do not finance kits.

13. Where we are situated

We are presently situated at the Komatipoort Airfield in the Mpumalanga Lowveld. At the new field we will have our show room, offices, a welding shop, repair shop and service centre. Basically a one stop shop for all your NTCA needs.

14. Where can I have a demo flight

Most of our demonstrations are done at Petit airfield, although we do have agents in other parts of the country who will help with demo flights and are available to answer all your questions. Contact us to find out about the agent nearest to you.