The search for a suitable aircraft took a couple of years. Several manufacturers were approached, but in general we were seen as just another customer, albeit one who was a little bit crazy and wanted to put an inordinate amount of fuel into a little aircraft. Roger Cornwell of Eurofox UK was different. From first meeting he was completely supportive, with not a hint of a laugh or snigger when the plan was put to him. On first meeting we sat down and sketched a design that would double the standard fuel capacity, putting the extra fuel in the wings where it was structurally best carried. Within a few months the Aeropro Eurofox factory in Slovakia had completed their stress analysis and the design was put to the Light Aircraft Association for preliminary discussion. To say that Aeropro and Eurofox UK have been forward leaning and generous is an understatement; nothing is too much trouble.
The Eurofox is a small aircraft that feels solid and dependable; essential in order to commit to significant ocean crossings and challenging weather. The controls are well harmonised, in particular adverse aileron yaw is virtually absent, and it makes a respectable instrument flying platform, even if only in simulated conditions at present. Performance is very lively, leaping off the ground even at max weight then climbing respectably, engendering confidence that at high weights and temperatures in the tropics we’ll not be short of performance.
We needed to turn a well proven short take-off and landing sport aircraft into a world traveller. Doubling the fuel capacity was only the start. The aircraft has a comprehensive avionics suite with an MGL iEFIS Explorer Lite multi-function display and a Kanardia Horis attitude indicator. Weight is an enemy and every effort to reduce the aircraft (and pilot!) weight has been made. A lot of the flight will be over sea or mature forest, so we’ve fitted a ballistic recovery parachute to make landing after an engine failure much safer.
|Empty Weight (with modifications)||310 kg|
|Max. Take-off Weight||560 kg|
|Useful load||250 kg|
|Aircraft Length||5.6 m|
|Maximum speed||110 kts|
|Stall speed (with flap, no power)||35 kts|
|Fuel Capacity||154 litres|
|Range (at 95 kts TAS) (estimated)||1350 nm|
|Endurance (at 70 kts IAS) (estimated)||16 hours|