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Micro Aviation B-22 Bantam

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Continuing development and improvements to the B10 design resulted in the B20 model. Requests kept flooding in to the factory for a two-seater version and it was not long before the B22 came on the scene. Sporting dual seats and controls. In 1985 the Micro Aviation NZ Ltd, B22 Bantam, made its successful maiden flight from the company's Te Kowhai base - a two-place microlight. At the hands of Max Clear, co-founder of the company, the aircraft began a series of proving flights. The B22 model is aimed at the flight training market.

Basically a stretched version of the popular B20, the side-by-side two-seater incorporates a number of new design features including lift struts which replace the two outer flying wires to each wing. However whilst the two inner flying wires have been retained, gone is the familiar kingpost and associated landing wires. A redesigned empennage now means that fin and stabilizer are interchangable, reducing complexity and keeping construction cost down. These refinements were to be incorporated into all future production B20 models as well.

A redesigned wing, incorporating a higher lift aerofoil section, utilises similar construction techniques as the single seat Bantam but an increased span - now 32 feet - gives the B22 162 square feet of wing area - an increase of more than 10 percent. Full span flaperons have been retained. Power is supplied by the Austrian Rotax 503 with an integral gearbox driving a locally manufactured 62" x 36” Perry prop. Fuel is contained in a 29 litre cylindrical aluminium tank (sufficient fuel for more than 2.5 hours of flying) designed and manufactured by John Smith, the other partner in this venture. Situated directly behind the seats, the tank has an external site gauge easily visible in flight. A wide fibreglass pod and windshield, designed by Micro Aviation and built by Ultralight Aircraft Manufacturing at Ardmore, provides protection while permitting excellent visibility.

Six B-22 Bantams were built, the first flying on 15 January 1986, and - after the paperwork had exceeded the weight of the B-22 Bantam and test pilots had flown a trouble free 150 hours - the type certificate came to hand.
Further impetus to the project was added by the constant stream of visitors to the Te Kowhai hangar, more than a few matching enthusiasm with orders. With a more powerful Rotax 582 engine, it became the standard production model in 1986. Twenty B-22s were completed during 1986; the 50th Bantam being completed shortly after Christmas 1986.

An agricultural spraying version was designated the B22AG.

When the Jabiru engine was first fitted to the B22 it was called the B22J Bantaroo, though this label was soon dropped. The B22J increased gross weight from 377kg to 430kg.

 

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Bantam B22J

 

Not that development stopped here either, although all of the models were Type approved in New Zealand, it was found that in order to gain both International recognition and approval to use the aircraft as a trainer, called for the production of a fully Certified version.

 

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Bantam B22J

 

As a result the factory geared itself up for this mammoth task. The wing was re-designed with a wider chord, shorter span and Clark-Y airfoil section, plus two more ribs. Changes were also made to the tail section, flaperons and cockpit, to name a few. The New Zealand Department of Civil Aviation supervised, tested and advised throughout this long drawn out process, finally awarding the new B22S full certification status in 1995.

Refinements made the vertical stabiliser and rudder interchangeable with the horizontal stabiliser and more eyebolts in the aileron and rudder and new instrument panel. With the introduction of the B22S in 1994, the serial sequence changed to year then number, at 94-001. The S suffix related to the British CAR regulation section S, including a fuel cock and a shortened fuel tank.

The Bantam B22S and B22J (with the new Jabiru 4-stroke engine) models are marketed in a number in a number of countries with in excess of 240 units having been produced. A paraplegic version with modified flght controls was also available.

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Under development in 2009 was the B22UL powered by a ULPower UL260i engine with Full Authority Digital Engine Control, producing 71kW (95hp).

 

Gallery


Stall: 23 kt / 26 mph / 43 kmh
Cruise: 56 kt / 64 mph / 104 kmh
VNE: 80 kt / 92 mph / 148 kmh
Empty Weight: 176 kg / 388 lbs
MTOW Weight: 430 kg / 948 lbs
Glide Ratio: 7:1
Take-off distance (50ft obstacle): 100 ft / 30 m
Landing distance (50ft obstacle): 100 ft / 30 m

Engine: Rotax 503, 48 hp.
Wing span: 9.8m
Length: 5.5m
Empty wt: 144kg
MAUW: 356 kg
Max cruise: 104 kph
Range: 260km

Engine: Rotax 532, 64 hp.

Engine: Rotax 582, 63 hp
Wing span: 9.03 m
Wing area: 15.1 sq.m
MAUW: 378 kg
Empty weight: 176 kg
Fuel capacity: 40 lt
Max speed: 113 kph
Cruise speed: 105 kph
Minimum speed: 42 kph
Climb rate: 3.4 m/s
Certification: BCAR S
Seats: 2
Price (1998): £18,794

 

B22J
Engine: 4 cylinder Jabiru 2.2 lt.
Gross weight: 430kg

B22S
Engine: Rotax 582

B22UL
Engine: ULPower UL260i, 95 hp.

 

 


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