Earthstar Odyssey N159BS

 

This aircraft is a well done version of the Earthstar Odyssey kit as designed by Mark Beierle and marketed by his company, Earthstar Aircraft of California.  This is a current model which is still being built and supported by Mark and his crew.  This kit was finished in 2006, with presently more than 400 hours total on airframe and engine/propeller. 

This model was originally designed before the Light Sport Rules and was classified as a Ultralight Trainer with superior performance.  This version was built by Brad Safford (of Omaha area) and licensed as an Experimental Amateur Built aircraft.  After a good checkout and a few hours of flying to get used to this aircraft you will find it has very predictable flying characteristics and impressive performance for such a light and modestly powered aircraft.

Aircraft is a high wing, tricycle landing gear pusher configuration.  Cabin has two large doors (one on each side), with generous window area and fantastic visibility (helicopter-like visibility).  Tricycle landing gear consists of two main gear legs of robust fiberglass with aluminum fairings, with a rather sensitive steerable nose wheel.  Aircraft has an efficient single piece aluminum covered cantilever wing (no external bracing or struts) with metal flaps (two notches of flaps via a bar in the center of the cabin ceiling) and fabric covered ailerons.  All wing controls are driven by pushrods (no internal cables).  Fuselage cage structure is welded chrome moly steel tubing with cabin covering being a fiberglass shell.  Tail is affixed to cabin structure by a single aluminum tail boom.  Tail section consists of all metal cantilever vertical stabilizer with fabric covered rudder.  Horizontal control surface is a cantilever flying pivoted fabric covered elevator (elevon) with self adjusting anti-servo tab.  Seating for pilot and passenger (student) is side by side with the right seat being staggered slightly towards the rear to allow more shoulder room than the typical side by side configuration.  Fiberglass semi-reclining seats with minimal padding are very comfortable and are easy to sit in for several hours at a time.  Rudder controls are conventional rudder pedals with heel stirrups for cable operated individual drum brakes on main wheels (left side only).   Pitch and roll are accomplished by a center stick with a teeter bar with grips on right and left side (which takes some getting used to at first).   Engine throttle lever is centered between the seats.  Pitch trim is down low between the seats and behind the throttle control, and consists of a screw knob (right/left turning screw).  After re-weighing this aircraft the (rearward) flight range was adjusted by adding weights to the nose to compensate for the alternate position of the battery (behind the right seat instead of in the nose).  Trim is mostly used for minor cruise adjustments and small adjustments for landing.  Aircraft has the optional ballistic parachute which is past the recommended time for re-packing however does not affect the airworthiness of the aircraft.

 

Engine is the Japanese design & built HKS 700E 680cc displacement producing 60 hp, equipped with dual CDI ignition, starter, built in alternator, Bing constant velocity carburetor on each side, a custom built exhaust system with single chrome plated muffler (by Mark Beierle), Powerfin three blade composite ground adjustable propeller with what appears to be a Balance Masters ring under flange.  HKS engines are distributed in the U.S. by two dealers.  Service and parts support is readily available for the HKS, as well as complete new HKS engines when you need one.  Engine oil lubrication I use is the recommended Mobil 1 full synthetic automotive engine oil (full synthetic automobile engine oil), with spin-on oil filter.  Final drive is a gear reduction to slow propeller to a relatively low and efficient rpm.  Engine has a pulse driven fuel pump and auxiliary electric fuel pump, a ten gallon plastic fuel tank behind the pilot seat, fuel filters and basic flight instruments.  Wing tips are fitted with white strobe lights (for better visibility even in daylight).  There is a convenient rectanular inspection & access plate installed on the left side of the fuselage where one has access to the inside of the boat tail to service fuel filters and inspection of wiring, ignition modules and everything normally out of sight.  Flight instruments are Airspeed, 2-1/4" Rate of Climb, Altimeter, Magnetic Compass and MGL Electronic Engine Monitor (EGT, CHT, Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature, RPM, Fuel Flow, manually set Fuel Gauge, Timer, Outside Temperature, settable alarms for parameters and more).  There is a RAM mount on the left side of the instrument pedistal suitable for your portable GPS, Iphone, Ipad, or whatever.  I recently installed a XCOM 760 comm radio in the lower panel, which has active and standby requencies, a huge frequency memory (requires programming), a great built in intercom and frequencies for NOAA Weather channels.  There is a plug box for the second set of  headphones as well as Push To Talk buttons on the pilot and student grips.  I am including a Garmin Pilot III GPS on a RAM mount on the side of the pedistal as well as a stop watch for flight time management.  The 10 gallon fuel tank is behind the pilot seat.  I have found fuel consumption to be between 2.5 to 3 gallons per hour.  In this engine you may use  Premium auto fuel or aviation 100LL.  Since the engine is a four stroke, there is no need to mix fuel and oil.  I have added aTanis electric engine pre-heater with heating elements on each cylinder and separate oil tank heater, a turn & slip ball, auxiliary plug sockets (to power GPS, handheld radio, etc.), PMA’d aircraft tires and no-leak inner tubes, oil tank quick drain and a custom made tow bar (included). 

 

Performance as configured is a cruising speed of 80-87mph depending on engine rpm and density altitude and temperature.  Propeller may be re-set for faster cruise or climb.  Empty weight is more than 575 lbs, with a gross of 1000 lbs.  Aircraft has current condition inspection done in April 2016.  Condition inspections (similar to Annual Inspection on Certified aircraft) must be done by a A&P however the mechanic does not need to have inspection authorization.  Technical information is available from Mark Beierle (designer & dealer).   Engine information, service & parts are available from Green Sky Adventures in Florida.

 

If you are interested in an Experimental aircraft with an excellent safety record, a reliable and efficient four stroke engine (far more reliable and fuel efficient than a two stroke) with superb visibility and rock bottom operating cost, this is one to consider.  The designer, Mark Beierle has flown versions of this aircraft series cross country for many years from his base in California to various fly in events such as Oshkosh Airventure, Lakeland Florida’s Sun N Fun and other events around the U.S.  I have my liability and hull insurance through AVEMCO and a new owner should be able to get this as well with the proper flight experience.  There is also an active user group on the Internet both for the Earthstar Aircraft series and the HKS engine series.  This aircraft excels in “no guilt” hang time to cruise around and look at the countryside about as inexpensively as you can get in a real aircraft.

 

If you would like to see more photos of specific areas of this aircraft I may have some in my files and am willing to shoot some more of this plane if you like.  If you are interested in this aircraft for purchase, I recommend a visit to inspect it for yourself.   I would consider negotiating delivery to your airport as a possibility for expenses.

 

Skot Weidemann