For the past week, I've been privileged to be hosted by the Skyleader people in the Czech Republic, including 5 days at the factory in Jihlava. Lubomir Vit, the International Sales Manager who looks after the Pacific area, coordinated my visit. It was a very significant time.
My main purpose was to get to know the Skyleader staff personally - I had lots of great conversations with company directors, sales team, designers, engineers, test pilots. They were keen to understand what Kiwi pilots are looking for in LSA and microlight aircraft.
I came away impressed by Skyleader's attention to detail, commitment to safety and willingness to fund R+D. I'd love to spend more time with the Skyleader staff in the future.
- Being taken for a demo flight in the Skyleader 400 sport aircraft (unfortunately I missed out on flying in their luxury SL-600).
- Travelling to Poland with one of the Skyleader engineers to visit the WKK glider factory which makes the GP One fuselages and wings for Skyleader. This factory does all the composite moulding for Stemme, SZD and other top-flite glider manufacturers, so it is an impressive operation.
- Visiting the TechPro Aviation workshop which produces the ribs, spars, skins, etc for Skyleader's all-metal aircraft. They corrosion-proof all the parts at the same time. These pre-drilled CNC parts go together so accurately that the assembly jigs are no longer required.
- Completing the maintenance training course for the composite GP One
- Trying to fly a Cessna Citation twin-engine jet thru a thunder storm at night, complete with lightning, rain and hail. OK, I was sitting in Skyleader's very realistic flight simulator - but I did manage one successful landing out of three! Their smaller LSA simulator comes in various versions and would be a great time and money saver for flight schools and aero clubs.