TL Ultralights Australia - Newsletter 1

Welcome to Newsletter No. 1, there is heaps of information below; much related to the questions some of our customers have made through emails and phone inquiries, we have also included heaps of photographs so please relax and take a few minutes to go through this latest newsletter.

For those which haven't been to the web site in the past couple of weeks we have added an new interactive price list, browse through and select your options and accessories.... All the hard work has been done for you as the list totals your selections at the bottom and it can even be printed out for future reference.

One of the main questions we are being asked about the pricing is "How come we have to buy in EURO and we live in Australia ?"

Simple answer is that EURO has become the International Trading Currency for Europe, all orders with the factory are placed in EURO and the total amount is set in EURO, this can cause some fluctuations to the aircraft price between your deposit and final payment but over the past 18 months the EURO has fared pretty well against other currencies.

Following are a selection of pictures from my latest visit to the factory where several TL-96 STAR Aircraft were under construction, the main difference between the STAR and the STING is the STAR is made from normal fibreglass and epoxy resin whilst the STING is constructed from Carbon Fibre, other differences between the two models are... The STING has smaller 'faster' wings, the STING has a more aerodynamic nose cone and the STING has a conventional split elevator / horizontal stabiliser unit where the STAR has a fully moving elevator structure. Both cockpits are identical as are all the accessories available for each aircraft, the STAR weighs in at approx 25 kgs more than the STING because it is made of fibreglass and not the lightweight Carbon Fibre. The STING because of the different wing also cruises approx 30 kms faster than the STAR.

Inside the factory which is made up of several buildings, here is the assembly area where the fitting out is done to each new aircraft. In the background staff are joining two wings together.
In this shot a technician is laying out the dash panels, wiring and control systems for a customers aircraft.
This is one of the glass shop rooms where the fuselage halves are mated together and sanded down prior to sealing, filling and painting.
Same place different angle, note the strength of the 'roll bar' behind the pilots head, this structure provides superior strength in the event of an accident where the aircraft comes to rest upside down.
And again..... Interesting is how strong the structure is even at this early stage as the aircraft are hoisted into all sorts of positions where it is easier to work on the airframe. These are STAR aircraft fuselages and are easily identifiable because the composite is the blue / green colour where the STING being made from Carbon Fibre is Black.
This was shot at the companies airfield, here aircraft are flown in from all over Europe to get serviced and repaired. The aircraft in the foreground is an early model STAR and is being fitted with a new engine.
Close up of the inside of the fuselage, the fuel tanks are towards the front of the aircraft whilst the dual control sticks are laying backwards because they are disconnected. The 'hand brake' looking lever in the middle is the flap selector.
This shot is the wings off the STAR model, notice the spars protruding from each wing, these go into the main fuselage and overlap, being held in by pins like some gliders. This system ensures a firm fit for each wing which doesn't loosen over time.
The hole in the wing is where the spars enter the fuselage. This is a photo of the STAR model. Notice the profile of the wing section, this is how the aircraft gets it's speed, its a very symmetrical wing profile which differs from the traditional high lift ultralight wing.
This German registered aircraft is in for a 100 hour service, notice how the canopy opens forward, being held in place by gas struts, this allows both pilot and passenger to enter the aircraft without stepping on the seats.
A good summers day in the Czech Republic ?? Notice the reduced visibility due to the fog..... We flew this aircraft at 240 kmh moments after this shot was taken, you really cover some ground at those speeds and I would welcome the almost unlimited visibility we get here in Australia in preference to foggy days.
Again in the shop a STAR airframe ready for instruments, wiring and painting.
Here two wings are matted together before sanding and painting, in the background are some of the moulds they use for manufacturing the elevators.
This is in the lay-up room, the temperature controlled room is used for laying up in this case the wings which are layed up and vacuum bagged, then it's off to the ovens for a controlled cure over 18 hours.
Close up of a 912S engine in the STAR model, this aircraft is in for a 100 hour service, the black funnel looking device is for the cabin heat and gets it's heat off the exhaust tube using the natural airflow through the engine cooling ducting.
Another close-up of the engine bay, they do a really good job on the fitting of the engines, it's neat and practical with good access to everything.

Hope you enjoyed the latest photographs from my visit to the factory, another question we are getting asked is about the freight, we have several options available at this time.

Option 1 was a bit of an adventure and we planned to fly the aircraft back to Australia from the Czech Republic, there is a war going on about 1/2 way and this option is now proving to be very difficult if not outright dangerous. I have engaged a company called Overflight in the UK to do our flight planning and clearances for this trip and I have enclosed the route for your interest, but it seems at this stage the trip will be unlikely.

Subject: TL Sting Flights to Australia
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 15:06:56 -0000
From: "Overflight" <>
To: "Michael Coates" <>

Good afternoon Michael,

As promised herewith details of a suggested route and quotation for your flights down to Australia. The problems with Pakistan obviously still exist but I have included the route through there just in case things change and for completeness. I have based the route on a range of no more than 500nm per leg. I have used the starting point as Prague (in the absence of details of your start point) and end point as Darwin, as clearance for Australia is not required. Distances are approximate using ATS routes.

Prague - Budapest, Hungary (298nm)
Budapest - Bucharest, Romania (379nm)
Bucharest - Thessaloniki, Greece (276nm)
Thessaloniki - Iraklion, Crete (328nm)
Iraklion - Alexandria, Egypt (325nm)
Alexandria - Luxor, Egypt (373nm)
Luxor - Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (429nm)
Jeddah - Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (488nm)
Riyadh - Bahrain (244nm)
Bahrain - Muscat, Oman (485nm)
Muscat - Gwadar, Pakistan (243nm)
Gwadar - Karachi, Pakistan (289nm)
Karachi - Ahmadebad, India (322nm)
Ahmadebad - Nagpur, India (377nm)
Nagpur - Jamshedpur, India (409nm)
Jamshedpur - Calcutta, India (128nm)
Calcutta - Chittagong, Bangladesh (191nm)
Chittagong - Yangon, Myanmar (398nm)
Yangon - Bangkok, Thailand (321nm)
Bangkok - Phuket, Thailand (368nm)
Phuket - Penang, Malaysia (222nm)
Penang - Pekanbaru, Indonesia (287nm)
Pekanbaru - Jakarta, Indonesia (489nm)
Jakarta - Semerang, Indonesia (211nm)
Semerang - Bali, Indonesia (314nm)
Bali - Mau Hau, Indonesia (310nm)
Mau Hau - Kupang, Indonesia (202nm)
Kupang - Darwin (493nm)

Some of the legs are short but have to be done that way because of customs requirements. Calcutta must be used as the airport of exit from India but you do not have the range to get from Nagpur to Calcutta direct, nor do you have the range to get from Calcutta to Yangon, which is why Chittagong is used. The legs through Indonesia could obviously be cut down if you could stretch the range further.

With regard to fuel, you would need to be able to use motor gasoline in certain countries where avgas is not normally available. That would be Alexandria (avgas in Egypt only normally available at Luxor), Jeddah & Riyadh, Gwadar, Nagpur/Jamshedpur, and Yangon. Clearances would be required for Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Egypt, Saudi, Bahrain, U.A.E., Oman, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Best Regards

David Gannon
Operations Manager

Interesting stuff.... Hopefully some day we can organise a trip like this from the factory to Australia or the USA.... Who knows.

Option 2 was to have the aircraft air freighted out to Australia, our current aircraft the X-Air range are presently air freighted to Australia in two crates in knocked down form, they cost us around $3,000 AU$ for each aircraft, the STINGS have come in at a massive $25,000 for airfreight. The reason is their physical size.... Even knocked down with the wings removed they are still in two crates one 1.8 meters high by 6 meters long holding the fuselage and the other crate holds the wings, elevator and horizontal stabiliser, whilst the actual weight of each crate is quite reasonable the charges levied for the volume make us pay for the equivalent of about 8 tonnes for each aircraft weighing in at around 300 kgs total.... If your got cash to burn and want your plane straight away then airfreight is still available but for the average owner it's option No.3.

Option 3 is good old sea freight, taking about 45 to 60 days to Australia and about 40 days to the US it cost approx $7,000 per 20 foot container, its possible to fit two aircraft quite safely and comfortably into a container further reducing the cost for each owner.

Delivery times The factory currently has a large backlog of orders and manufacture has stretched out to about 12 weeks from your order, as each aircraft is constructed to the individual requirements of each customer and you are assured of a unique and individual aircraft.

Factory trip at Christmas... yes it's on in late December, the first group of owners are going over to the Czech Republic late December to tour the factory and oversee the finishing touches to their aircraft, we will have the opportunity to get some additional instruction in flying the Sting and the Star aircraft as well as running through the maintenance procedures for the aircraft, engine and propellers, at this stage its planned for the week before Christmas, if your interested bring the warm cloths because the temps drop down to below -5 during December in this part of the world.

Well that's it for now, there will be an update from the factory trip in December as well as a full report when the first batch are airborne in Australia early next year.

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