It’s symbolic that the birth of a new plane comes from companies (Flight Dynamics and EuroSportAircraft) based in the country’s birthplace, Guimarães. Named Crossover, it’s the fulfilment of the vision and dream of its mentor, Teófilo Leite (or Tom Leite, for speakers of other languages), a man with flight in his veins.
The creation of the LSA certification for light sports aircraft, 15 years ago, breathed new life into a long-stagnant sector. A new wave of manufacturers and models, with modern materials and simplified avionics, has renewed hope of accessible flight for everyone. Having someone Portuguese at the helm, the Crossover surfs this wave in a very different way, combining glider performance with engine advantage for independent operation in the air or on land. It boasts electric or hybrid propulsion, is cheaper and more ecological and has two adjoining seats under a large canopy to share the joy of flying. The Crossover also has wing options of 12, 15 or 18 metres, which adapt to its owner’s particular purposes.
In addition to combining technologies and applications, it represents a linguistic intersection that involves technology and engineering centres in Northern Portugal for composite materials (INEGI, PIEP and ideia.m, from UPTEC) and Belo Horizonte, in Brazil, where Professor Paulo Iscold (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) contributed to design and aerodynamics.
Flight Dynamics and EuroSportAircraft were set up in 2009. Four years later, it was time for the first flights and presentation at Europe’s largest general aviation fair: Aero Friedrichschafen (in the city where the famous Zeppelin was made). After various tests and trials – including different engines and wing combinations – the first customer got their hands on the Crossover this year.
Ready to start mass production, Tom Leite already has other things in the pipeline, including a Crossover-related remotely piloted platform with impressive range, which benefits from fantastic glider capabilities and low consumption of the hybrid mode. Swapping the slow pleasure of flying for the enjoyment of speed, there is also the small and nervous Speedster, a nimble sports plane that takes you from A to B in the flash.
Guimarães confirms its reputation as a hub of ambitious entrepreneurs, this time from an altitude of a hundred thousand feet.
by Ricardo Reis
web design & development 262media.com