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Mainair Rapier


The Mainair/ Flexiform Sky Sails Rapier is a tandem one/two-seat single-engined flex-wing aircraft with weight-shift control. Rogallo wing with keel pocket. Pilot suspended below wing in trike unit, using bar to control pitch and yaw/roll by altering relative positions of trike unit and wing. Wing braced from above by kingpost and cables, from below by cables; bowsprit construction with >70% double-surface; pre-formed ribs. Undercarriage has three wheels in tricycle formation; no suspension on nosewheel and rubber supension on main wheels. Push-right go-left nosewheel steering independent from yaw control. Brake on nosewheel. Aluminium-tube trike unit, with optional pod. Engine mounted below wing driving pusher propeller. Trike unit tubing is epoxy-sheathed drawn seamless aluminium to British HT30TF specification. All bolts are aircraft quality AN series.
Many people want to take up a passenger occasionally and yet find a full two-seater weight-shift machine rather heavy to handle. For these pilots Mainair has designed the Rapier, a 'one-plus-one' machine powered by a 330 Robin but capable of lifting a total of 280 lb (127 kg). The Rapier follows Mainair's two-seat practice in using a toothed-belt drive and is the first production machine to use the company's new undercarriage for the main wheels, which incorporates telescopic side struts with internal rubber suspension.
Like the Merlin, the Rapier is a joint venture, this time with Flexiform Sky Sails, whose Striker wing is produced in a special red and white colour scheme to match the epoxy paint on the trike unit. Allied to the elimination of rigging wires on the trike, (in favour of struts) and the underslung fuel tank (done for safety reasons), this gives the Rapier a distinctive appearance.

In 1998 Mainair revived the Rapier name with a new model, unrelated to the model of 15 years before, as an entry-level trike. The new Rapier uses the Blade wing but the trike unit is more basic with no suspension and only the Rotax 503 or 462 as options. It could be purchased in kit form.
Rapier 1998


Engine: Robin EC34PM, 35 hp at 6500 rpm.
Propeller diameter and pitch 54 x 30/34 inch, 1.37 x 0.761 0.85 m.
Toothed-belt reduction. ratio 2.5/1.
Max static thrust 190 lb. 86 kg.
Power per unit area 0.18hp/sq.ft, 2.0hp/sq.m.
Fuel capacity 4.2 US gal, 3.5 Imp gal, 13.6 litre.
Length overall 11.0 ft, 3.35 m.
Height overall 10.5ft, 3.20m.
Wing span 34.5ft, 10.52m.
Sweepback 15 deg
Total wing area 200 sq.ft, 18.6 sq.m.
Wing aspect ratio 7.5/1.
Wheel track 5.5 ft, 1.68 m.
Wheelbase 5.8 ft. 1.77 m.
Nose-wheel diameter overall 14 inch, 356 mm.
Main wheels diameter overall 14 inch. 356 mm.
Empty weight 224 lb, 102kg.
Max take-off weight 525 lb, 238 kg.
Payload 301 lb, 137 kg .
Max wing loading 2.4 lb/sq.ft. 13.0kg/sq.m.
Max power loading 15.0 lb/hp, 6.7kg/hp.
Max level speed 58mph, 93kph.
Never exceed speed 69mph, 111 kph.
Max cruising speed 54 mph, 87 kph.
Stalling speed 23 mph, 37 kph.
Max climb rate at sea level 690 ft/min, 3.5 m/s.
Best glide ratio with power off 5/1.
Take-off distance 150ft, 45m.
Landing distance 92 ft, 28 m.
Range at average cruising speed 92 mile, 148 km.


Rapier 1998
Empty weight: 152 kg
Wing span: 10.4 m
Wing area: 15.4 sq.m
Fuel capacity: 44 lt
Certification: BCAR S
Engine: Rotax 462, 52 hp
MAUW: 370 kg
Seats: 2
Max speed: 136 kph
Cruise speed: 95 kph
Minimum speed: 50 kph
Climb rate: 3 m/s
Fuel consumption: 10 lt/hr
Price (1998): £10,836








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