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Quicksilver Sport 2SE
Quicksilver Sport 2SE
One of the most successful wide-open-airplane manufacturers is ­Temecula, California-based Quick­silver. Until now, Quicksilver has offered its products only as ultralights, which are restricted to one seat, or with Experimental airworthiness certificates, which means you would have to build one, trust someone else to build one properly or join a flying club to fly one. The Experimental category also makes it difficult to obtain training.
Around 2011, Escutia, a Mexican national who shares his time between his home in Guadalahara, Mexico, and Temecula, took over the operation. Escutia felt that the amateur-built category was a barrier to sales, so he embarked on a journey to bring the 2S to LSA certification. About 18 months later, he had the first light-sport airworthiness certificate for the S2SE in hand.
In 2014 Quicksilver achieved the special category light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) ­certification from the FAA for its Sport 2SE, the slightly modified, factory-made version of the experimental Sport 2S.
The Quicksilver Sport 2SE is a two-seat open cockpit airplane constructed of aluminum tubes and double-side sailcloth. The airframe has been tested to load factors of plus-6 and minus-3 G, though not under FAA as part of any certification program. The S2SE is powered by a 65-horsepower Rotax 582 engine and Warp Drive three-blade carbon fiber 72-inch propeller ­— a prop that had previously not achieved an LSA sign-off. Fuel burn is 5.6 gph at 75 percent power.and cruise around 45 mph. The S2SE was approved for production in May 2014 and the retail price was set at $39,999.
The parts for the S2SE are organized into vacuum wrapped packages, just like those of amateur-built kits, making the assembly process streamlined. The initial assembly of the S-LSA happens in a small space at the back of the factory where the fuselage parts are put together. The final assembly is completed at the French Valley Airport. Once the structure is complete, the large double-side wing covers are pulled over the wing framework like a jacket. The whole process takes about seven weeks, including the flight testing.
The Sport 2SE has tricycle gear and the pilot and passenger sit in a side-by-side arrangement. The airplane has dual throttles and dual rudder pedals, and there is an airspeed indicator and altimeter ­located ­between the two sets of pedals. Engine instruments are in a digital box on a crossbar above the seats.
The S2SE flies mostly like any other airplane. Push forward on the throttle and you get more power. Pull back on the stick and you climb or slow down. Push forward and you descend or pick up speed. The airplane moves in the direction of the rudder pedal you step on or the direction you move the stick.
The offices and main production plant are in an industrial mall in Temecula, where most of the ­airplanes' components are cut, shaped and welded, and the sailcloth for the wings is cut and sown by hand. The factory assembled two-seat LSA was ready to be delivered to customers through three facilities in Temecula, California, Reserve, Louisiana, and Rochester, Minnesota, most notably to a Chinese university for which the Chinese government ordered 77 units.
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