Comp Air Seven Turbo-prop

Custom Planes Magazine: Article and Flight Review (Jan 2000)

turbo7a.jpg (21536 bytes)January 14, 1999
Merritt Island, FL -

Designer, builder and test pilot Ron Lueck is normally a very talkative person.  After his first flight in his latest design, however, he was at a loss for words.  A BIG smile, and a generous "thumbs-up" hand signal were his first reactions to the flight. When asked how his new turbo-prop powered Comp Air 7 flew, he replied, "...what do you say when WOW!! doesn't express it?..."

Ron, owner of Comp Air Inc,. is a self-proclaimed "power junky" who has often expressed the opinion that "you can't have too much power".  This new airplane may have finally satiated his seemingly unquenchable thirst for thrust. Packing a walloping 657 hp, the Walter M601D turbo-prop looms out in front of the seven place Comp Air 7, intimidating any but the most power-hungry pilots.
turbo7f.gif (44718 bytes)"Performance" takes on a whole new meaning with this airplane. After several hours of test-flying, Ron says he hasn't yet "got the nerve" to explore the full capabilities of this powerhouse.  During yesterday's flight, he reported a 258 mph TAS cruise at 12,500 feet -- using only 80 lbs. of the available 127 lbs. torque!  Climb rates produce such a steep "deck angle" that he has not yet experimented with full power. However, he reports no difficulty achieving a 4000 fpm climb @ 120 mph indicated, with plenty of excess thrust still available. Ron says he prefers a "cruise climb" at 150 mph indicated -- producing a climb of 2000 fpm -- the "deck angle" is more comfortable in the gentler climb.

turbo7e.jpg (47152 bytes)The Comp Air 7 is handling beautifully in flight. Ron reports "hands-off" stability in all flight regimes that he has explored during the flights this week. The range of speeds that the airplane can fly at is also impressive. The airplane is not only able to easily achieve cruise speeds in excess of 250 mph TAS, but can also be slowed easily for traffic pattern operations. Ron says that it is easy to slow the airplane to as low as 80 mph when necessary, and he has flown final approach as slow as 70 mph indicated. Touchdown is slow and easy.

More details about this incredible airplane will be published as flight-testing continues.  Please stay tuned -- there's lots more to come...



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