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Sorrell SNS-8 Hyperlight


In the early ’80s - at the height of the ultralight boom - one of Hobie’s sons, Tim Sorrell, designed a lighter, all-metal ultralight version of the Guppy and named it the SNS-8 Hiperlight. Siblings Mark, John and Lisa joined Tim in a company that marketed the all-metal, single-seat negative stagger biplane Hiperlight, which was quite different from other ultralights.

The kit can be licensed it in the Experimental/Amateur-Built or ultralight category LSA. The kit features a finished and powder-coated 4130 welded-tube forward fuselage and a welded 6061-T6 aluminum aft fuselage. The strut braced equal span wings and tail were built from premade welded aluminium alloy tube parts, and presewn slip-on covering made finishing the airplane easy. Originally powered by a single-cylinder, 28-hp two-stroke Rotax 277 with a Hegar belt reduction drive, later kits features a 28-hp MZ 201 two-stroke engine.

Full span flaperons are fifted to the lower wing. Centre mounted joy stick, rudder pedals, tailwheel steerable through rudder pedals.

The Sorrells were able to convince the FAA to grant an exemption to the ultralight speed limit (55 knots level at full power) as the Hiperlight easily flew at 65 knots. The Hiperlight has full-span sheet-metal ailerons providing a snappy roll rate, and controls are nicely balanced. As with many ultralight designs, the stall is without a break; it is simply a mush easily controllable in all three axes.


In 1984 the Sorrell Hyperlight sold for $8500 pre-fabricated or for $6500 as a kit, both with a 28 hp engine.


The SNS-8 can be landed gracefully in any pitch attitude from a nose-really-high, tailwheel-first one-pointer to a fly-it-on-level wheels landing.


Engine: Rotax 277 (268 cc) 28 hp
Empty weight: 252 lbs
Wing span: 22 ft
Wing area: 140 sq.ft
Height: 5 ft 3 in
Length: 15 ft 6 in
Fuel cap; 5 USG
Construction: Aluminium, Dacron, Steel
Max wt: 500 lb
Stall: 27 mph
Max speed: 63 mph
Vne: 95 mph
Climb rate: 600 fpm @ 38 mph
Design limit: +6, -4g
Glide ratio: 10-1
Wing loading: 3.57 lbs/sq.ft
Power loading: 17.86 lbs/hp
Seats: 1
Takeoff run 175 ft
Landing roll 175 ft

Engine: Rotax 447, 42 hp
Speed max: 90 mph
Cruise: 75 mph
Range: 150 sm
Stall: 30 mph
ROC: 1200 fpm
Take-off dist: 125 ft
Landing dist: 150 ft
Service ceiling: 12,000 ft
Fuel cap: 5 USG
Weight empty: 300 lb
Gross: 550 lb
Height: 5.25 ft
Length: 15.6 ft
Wing span: 22 ft
Wing area: 140 sq.ft
Seats: 1
Landing gear: tail wheel

Thunderbird Aviation Hiperlight SNS-8
Cruise: 60 mph
Stall: 27 mph
Range: 210 sm
Rate of climb: 700 fpm
Takeoff dist: 175 ft
Landing dist: 175 ft
Engine: MZ 201, 28 hp
HP range: 28-45
Fuel capacity: 5 USG
Empty weight: 247 lb
Gross weight: 500 lb
Length: 15.6 ft
Wing span: 22 ft
Wing area: 140 sq.ft
Seats: 1
Cockpit width: 22 in
Landing gear: tailwheel



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