Monday - Jul 24, 2017

Costas Lambropoulos talks to Innovanaut about G-Aerosports Archon SF/1 aircraft built in Greece


Aerosports Archon SF/1 aircraft

Giorgos (George) Iliopoulos, president and an instructor of Florina Flying Club in northern Greece, has brought Greece ahead in the future of aviation technology with the Archon SF/1 RG, a single–seat, high-wing, single-engine aircraft with the revolutionary “Flying Fuselage Aircraft” design after being inspired at the EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh a few years ago. Starting 30 years before as a young amateur, who went on to build bigger and bigger models, including one from recyclable paper, Giorgos’s love for Aviation and working with small planes has today, made him one of the best in the world in Light Aircraft design and construction, to the point that he has created the FFA technology, as per F22 Raptor. The difference says Costas Lambropoulos is that he used his blood, sweat, and tears, along with his love for aviation to reach his goals. Here to explain the dynamics of the aircraft in kit form, which when completed looks like a modern fighter jet is Costas Lambropoulos, the representative for G-Aerosports in the UK:

Can you tell me a little more about the revolutionary Archon SF/1 RG and explain some of its innovative features?

Well, the G-Aerosports Archon SF/1 RG is a Single Seat Deregulated (SSDR) aircraft designed and built in Greece, in kit form. It has a fighter-like twin tail and central cockpit, and a ‘stealth’ appearance. The wing and fuselage blend into each and both generate lift. The Archon is powered by a Rotax two-stroke engine – any of the 502, or 582 engines and is constructed from aluminum. Its max speed is 210km/h (113kt) and it has load limits of +4/-2 g. It is built of Aluminum alloy making it strong, light-weight, durable, corrosion resistant and tolerant to the sun and different temperatures.

The plan is to create the same aircraft, in a different design, all aluminum, which will give it a distinctive style and better corrosion and element resistance. It will also be in a stronger form, so it can take the bigger 4 stroke Rotax engine (912 / 914), that gives 80 / 100+ bhp (horse power). Note that the design allows the aircraft to fly with a 50 hp engine, the Rotax 503, where an equivalent aircraft without Flying Fuselage Aircraft (FFA) Technology would have needed at least the 60 hp engine to be able to provide the same performance. This is a testament to the FFA Design.

Is it the first prototype of its kind in Greece?

There are two prototypes so far, with the second one having a retractable undercarriage. They are the only GA (General Aviation) or in fact civil aircraft in the world that utilise FFA (Flying Fuselage Aircraft) technology as far as the UK Light aircraft Association know, with the exception of the F22 Raptor used in the British Armed Forces.

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There are many kits available on the market such as the bolt together aluminum tube type construction covered in Dacron sailcloth and those that feature a welded steel fuselage with standard stits and ceconite type covering. How does the Archon SF/1 RG kit compare to those?

There are two prototypes so far, with the second one having a retractable undercarriage. There are the only Flying Fuselage Aircraft in General Aviation, in the world, as far as we, and the UK Light aircraft Association know.

Would a novice be able to build the complete airframe?

I believe that anyone with basic engineering skills can assemble it and to make the kit easier to assemble, it will come with pre-fabricated and pre-drilled panels, ready for riveting.

How much time is needed to construct the Archon SF/1 RG?

A complete airframe kit requires approximately 500 hours to construct.

Aerosports Archon SF/1 aircraftAnd what is actually included in the kit?

The kit includes all the necessary parts and components to build the complete SF/1 ARCHON airframe, including pre-assembled spars (also wing spars). In particular, the kit contains all the materials for enthusiasts to build the fuselage, the wings with flaps and ailerons, with aerodynamic profile. The tail with the twin-rudders, fixed landing gears, rudder pedals and canopy with windshield, wing fuel tanks, and engine mount are also included. We also We supply customers with all the necessary rivets, clecos, bolts, washers and nuts, control cables, pulleys, and turnbuckles. All parts are pre-cut, pre-drilled and pre-welded as needed.

Would customers need to buy anything extra to build the Archon SF/1 RG?

Well, the engine, propeller, the instruments, the avionics, tools and upholstery, and of course the crating and shipping cost are extra. Shipping cost will be calculated and sent by email before the order completion. In fact, I will just mention that orders will be delivered by order number priority. Customers will receive the order number and the estimated delivery time by email, after the completion of the order. All in all, we estimate 90 days from placing an order to get the kit shipped to a customer.

What are your plans for the aircraft going forward?

Currently, it’s a single seater, but we are looking to expand and make it a stronger single seater to accommodate the bigger four-stroke Rotax family of engines that produce from 80-120 bhp and then create the two-seater trainer specifically to facilitate flight training of civilian enthusiasts, pilots, and aircrews as well as ‘dual flying’ which makes it a lot more fun.

innovanaut-about-aerosports-archon-5How do you personally feel about the Archon SF/1 RG based on your own flying experience and as acting representative?

I approached George over a year ago, just after I had seen the videos of the Archon flying on Youtube and I was impressed by its flying characteristics with such a small engine! I wanted to be involved and help as much as I could in such a fantastic ‘Dream come True’ story. I haven’t flown the aircraft as yet, I hope to fly it now when it comes for the UK LAA Rally at Sywell, 2-4 of September, something that we owe to the sponsorship from Aegean Airlines and we are grateful for. I would like to publicly thank Aegean Airlines because, without their help, the Archon wouldn’t have been possible to make its maiden voyage to its first Aviation exhibition outside of Greece. As far as I have seen, when I sat inside the cockpit when I was in Greece, attending the “Athens Flying Week 2015”, the Archon SF/1 RG has excellent visibility, anyone can see the outstanding in-flight handling from the Youtube videos and by making it into a two-seater, it will be a great training aircraft with no question of it not being a “world-player” in the training market for the foreseeable future.

Finally, how do prospective buyers of the kit find out how much the kit costs?

It is expected that the RG (Retractable Gear) model in kit form will be around 25,000 euros plus transport costs, for the UK and 20,000 euros for the non-retractable gear version.

For further information, you can go to: http://aerosports.gr/

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