Skycraft Scout

The Aircraft On Display

The description with the aircraft states only that "little is known about the history of this particular Scout. Some parts came from another Scout which was flown in the Kimberley in 1979"

Type / History

Type Single-seat Ultra-light aircraft
Manufacturer Skycraft
Designer Ron Wheeler
Maiden flight May 1974
Introduced August 1976
Primary users Amateur

 

The details provided with the aircraft are;

Very light aeroplanes were not permitted in Australia before 1976 for safety reasons. When the ban was lifted they became very popular because they were very cheap, easy to make and anyone could fly them. The Skycraft Scout was made in Australia.

Before 1976 the Commonwealth Department of Transport forbade the construction and flying of extremely light aeroplanes because they were considered far too unsafe. However, by the 1970s many new techniques and materials had become available which made this kind of aeroplane much easier to build and safer to fly, such as the fabric wings. From Mat 1976 the Department permitted the use of the kinds of aeroplanes as long as they did not fly higher than 100 metres or over roads and populated areas. They were called 'minimum aircraft'.

These aeroplanes were popular because they did not need to be registered and their pilots did not require any flying training. They were also very inexpensive, costing around $2,000, and could usually be bought in kit form which was easily assembled ready for flight. By 1979 were about 200 'minimum aircraft' flying in Australia.

The Skycraft Scout was designed in Sydney by RG Wheeler and first flown in May 1974. It could be quickly dismantled and carried on the roof rack of a motor car. It was put into production in August 1976 and quickly became popular. By May the following year 64 had been made. Its large wing area gave it a very slow take-off and landing speed and it had docile handling characteristics so novice pilots could master it after only a few hours' flight."

Its Wikipedia entry suggests the Scout was the world's first commercially-produced ultralight aircraft, also the first to be covered by airworthiness regulations.

General Characteristics

General characteristics

Length: 16 ft 6 in (5.03 m)
Height: 5 ft 2 in (1.57 m)
Wingspan 28 ft 6 in (8.69 m)
Powerplant: Pixie 153cc engine, about 8 HP
Weight: empty 112 lb (51 kg),
maximum 285 lb (129 kg)

Performance

Maximum speed: 47 mph (76 km/h)
Range: 28 mi (45 km)