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Anti Air Cam
I pride myself on being a pretty reasonable guy. I’m not quick to judge and I’m pretty considerate of others, but in spite of all that I couldn’t restrain myself from sharing my thoughts on Sport Aviation’s most recent cover-plane.
So what is it about the Air Cam that stirs in me such disgust? I generally love all airplanes, big or small. I had to do some research to get to those answers.
Recall the original Air Cam was a purpose-built one-off airplane designed for a National Geographic project in Africa. That makes sense. It’s very open for photo work. No need for a cockpit in the warm climes and twin engines bolted on to avoid unsightly off-airport landings in the less than hospitable regions it was operating. All of this totally makes sense.
What doesn’t makes sense is why anyone would want to spend well north of $100,000 to build and own one. I don’t fault the manufacturer one bit. They were merely responding to what must have been a good volume of requests to purchase kits when the prototype was flying. Certainly the market has answered the call to a limited extent; there are over 100 units out there in various states of repair.
The airplane itself has some excellent capabilities that might be great in specific kinds of operations, like it was designed:
- Takeoff and landings in 100-300′
- Single-engine takeoff capability – impressive!
- Unparalleled views from the front office
- Super low and slow loitering
- Amphibious capability (optional)
Again all these things are cool enough.
When I first saw that they were commercially available, I actually looked up the price out of curiosity and was dumbfounded.
Its progenitor was the much more reasonable Max Air Drifter. I found an example on Barnstormers.com for $5000. That’s more like it.
My brain just screams when I consider the thousands of alternates out there for that kind of money!
And therein lies the problem; the cost is so staggering as to completely detract from any of its good points.
So if you are into a twin-engine, super-sized ultralight that cruises under 100mph and costs the same as a small home, this might be for you.
I know. I know. To each his own.
If you love the Air Cam, tell me why. I love to be educated, lord knows I need it.
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