ⓘ Verilite Sunbird


ⓘ Verilite Sunbird

The Verilite Model 100 Sunbird was a low-cost light aircraft developed in the United States in the 1980s. It was developed by De Vore Aviation, a company that manufactures aircraft components, as a first foray into aircraft manufacturing. When initiated in 1983, the goal of the project was to create a two-seat light aircraft that could be sold for less than $US 20.000. Additionally, it was hoped that the Sunbird operating costs would be half that of a conventional two-seat aircraft. Funding for the project became available in 1985, and the Verilite subsidiary was created to develop the concept. The design was unconventional: a high-wing, strut-braced monoplane with the single engine fitted in pusher configuration at the rear of the wing, and the empennage carried on an aluminum boom. The pilot and a single passenger sat side by side in a fully enclosed cockpit, and fixed, tricycle undercarriage was fitted. Originally simply dubbed the "Affordable Airplane", the name "Sundancer" was chosen as the winner of a public competition, and later changed to "Sunbird".

Verilite worked with NASAs research center Dryden flight, to correct a serious flaw in design when the tests with radio-controlled model aircraft seen to enter a spin after the stall. Adding droop to the outboard halves of the front edges eliminated the problem and provided the Sunbird "unspinnable".

The first flight was originally anticipated in may 1986, and certification by mid-1987. However, taxiing trials were not initiated until February 1987, and the first attempts to fly aircraft, April 18, in the accident immediately after takeoff. The NTSB report on the accident said that the plane could not maintain height, after the end of the ground effect, and although the engine capacity of 60 HP, It can only deliver 40 horsepower.

The aircraft was rebuilt, in the process of losing 150 pounds 68 kg structural mass, and the engine was changed to deliver 70 horsepower. Like this Sunbird was successfully flown on 5 Oct 1987. The projected cost of the aircraft increased to $22.000 in 1985 and to $24.000 in 1987. Certification is now expected by mid-1989. Funding for the project, however, proved difficult, with Gilbert de vore personally, the contribution of 75% from $ 1 million has been spent on the project by the end of 1986. De vore plans to make a public offer to raise between $1 million and $25 million to Finance the rest of the program of development and certification, and will require additional funding to create a production. In the event, however, was canceled the development, and no additional sunbirds were built.