|Czech Pilot 4/2004|
In the middle of this year I had a chance to fly in the ALTO ultra light airplane, made by Mr. Chroust and Mr. Mixa from Moravian Vyškov.
At first glance it was clear that it would be a fast machine not only because of the six-cylinder Jabiru engine, but also because of its overall concept, stemming from the contemporary concept of an up-to-date aircraft.
After compulsory weighing, calculation of the centre of gravity and checks of everything, necessary before the first flight, we got down to business. During the taxiing tests, I was very surprised by the nearly ideal engine operation in all modes and by good outward visibility, which cannot always be expected when using conventional aircraft landing gear.
During takeoff as well as during the flight itself, the engine’s performance was easily felt, climb was about 8 m/s, the cruising speed surpassed 200 km/h, and the descent speed was 60 km/h – all of these at maximum takeoff weight. These data were indicated by the speedometer. After initial faults had been eliminated, the aircraft felt very pleasant and not deceptive to fly, a fact confirmed by the LAA Technician, Mr. Slad, engineering supervisor.
I flew this aircraft for two hours, I carried out 10 takeoffs and landings, including landing with the engine cut. During that period I came to the conclusion that the aircraft is designed mainly for travelling (proven also by the steering wheel instead of the steering gear arm) and should be flown by experienced pilots. It is not suitable for aviation training in flying schools.
The fact is that I flew the first prototype of this aircraft; there were some shortcomings, removable without seriously changing the design.
In conclusion, we should wish the designers and owners of the aircraft good luck and patience for their “long distance run” and thank them for a pleasant flight.