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Brown Starlite

Starlite I

One small single place machine providing 150 knot cruise on only 40hp caused minor sensation amongst would-be constructors when it appeared in the marketplace around 1985. The Starlite was conceived by design engineer and computer buff Mark Brown as a sleek, easy to build runabout. Marketed in kit form, the package was complete with everything required - with one exception, the trim colour, which the designer reasoned would remain the choice of the individual constructor.

Having grabbed everyone's attention, the next from the Brown stable was the two place Pulsar. Using a similar form of construction as the Starlite, the Pulsar has undergone extensive flight testing in preparation for release in kit form.

Built up from premoulded sandwich composite parts made of pre-pregnated fibre-glass surrounding a structural foam core, the Pulsar fuselage halves come as moulded units epoxied together at joints consisting of internal flanges; no wet lay ups are required. Parts are simply taped together as the epoxy glue cures, then the tape is removed.

Composite sandwich bulkheads are cut to shape, using full size templates, by the builder and are attached by fibreglass tapes and epoxy filler. Three bulkheads support the wings, seats and undercarriage. Construction simplicity is a feature of Mark Brown's designs. Wing construction differs considerably from that of the fuselage, being substantially from wood. The mainspar, machined from aircraft spruce, has factory laminated tapered unidirectional fibreglass spar caps both top and bottom to reduce inboard bending. One inch thick, pre-cut, foam ribs are spaced eight inches apart and one sixteenth inch thick plywood is wrapped around and bonded to the structure to form the aerofoil. Each spar extends inboard and overlap inside the fuselage, pinned together and to the fuselage with five-eights shear pins, glider style. The tailplane is likewise removable, providing a road transportable/ confined storage aircraft. Modern epoxy adhesives and new flexible polyurethane finishes virtually eliminate the main disadvantages of wood-built aircraft and, properly protected from moisture, the designer claims that the Pulsar will survive as long as full composite and aluminium counterparts.

Preliminary flight tests of the Pulsar, powered by a water cooled two stroke 64 hp Rotax 532, have demonstrated encouraging performance figures and fuel economy.



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