Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Traffic Is ...

While I'm flying in California, a hard-working flight follower tells me that "Traffic is an əlɐɹ'əs, one o'clock five miles east to west." I report "Looking," but the truth is I'm not sure what an Elaris, or Alaras or Ayloras is. I've never heard of it. From the calls that it has been making, I am guessing that the pilot is working on his initial IFR rating. And there's a bunch of them in the airspace, with similar tail numbers, so they must be a flying school fleet. I must be somewhere in between a light sport plane and a trainer twin.

I go online after landing to look for likely candidates. I find Alaris Aviation, but they are a used aircraft broker, not a manufacturer. Elaris Designs makes classy sweaters. Aha, I score with Alarus. It's an all-metal, low wing, single. It has sprung steel landing gear, like a Cessna, in the tricycle configuration, but it looks a little like a Tripacer, with the mains further forward proportionally than I expect. That must be truly the case, as it includes a tail skid with shock absorbers, something I've never seen on an aircraft part that is not supposed to contact the ground on landing.

It cruises at 95 to 100 knots, so it's purely a trainer. I think someone who wanted an airplane for personal use would want one either faster or that had some kind of history or interesting reason to be slow.

Anyone ever flown one of these?


Aluwings said...

This is the certified offshoot of Chris Heinz's amateur-built kit plane, the Zodiac.

You can find more at the Zenith / Zenair / AMD websites probably. I think this family business is not subdivided into two or three separate companies. Chris is still based near Midland Ontario, I believe, while his sons have their operations at Mexico, Missouri.


Aluwings said...

previous post typo: "not" should say "now" ..

Also this link is useful:


A Squared said...

".......as it includes a tail skid with shock absorbers, something I've never seen on an aircraft part that is not supposed to contact the ground on landing."

They may be mroe common that you realize. Off the top of my head, the DC-6 and the 727 have tail skids with some sort of shock absorber, although the skid on the 727 absorbs shock by the deformation of a sacrificial part. All out new-hire flight engineers will be expcted at some point in thier training/qualification to know the nitrogen pressure in the DC-6 tail skid strut, despite the fact that there is no guage, nor any way of checking that pressure withot the application of tools, and absolutely no way of determining it or changing it in flight. Sometimes we get a little carried away with memorizing pointless, useless nembers

Luke said...

Yes, a couple of times, early on. A bit roomier than a 172, and it came with a nice Garmin stack, but taking off on a hot Georgia summer afternoon was always a bit of an adventure.

My flight school's example apparently had one fuel cap that would tend to loosen in flight, and I recall the unfortunate phrase "make sure the left wing's not loose" not exactly going over well with a student pilot.

Guy said...

I've heard a few of these active around Stockton and Tracy; I suspect there's a flight school in the central valley that has a fleet of them. Their attractiveness seems to be that they're pretty cheap for a full IFR platform.