Customer flight test report
My first experience with ONE aircraft
I didn’t realize what a memorable day this would become when I arrived at the Celje Airfield in NE Slovenia on that sunny July day, ready to test fly the legendary ONE Aircraft. I arrived at the airport during the late morning of July 14th 2016 , together with my friend Miran Stern (CEO of ONE Aircraft) where I was introduced to Iztok Salamon, the „father“ or inventor of the aircraft, who at the same time is a very experienced test pilot, and which obviously knows this aircraft inside out.
At this point I have to mention that this was my first time ever flying:
– a light/ultralight aircraft
– a Rotax engine powered aircraft (with a gear and 5000 RPM)
– experimental/non-certified aircraft (in the case of ONE)
So I was a little respectful in view of the coming flight (Am I now a test pilot?). Two things that impressed me right away and allowed me to get a good feeling of the ONE were:
– Iztok let me practically fly all on my own and only intervened verbally when necessary
– He knew his stuff to the detail and explained me everything clearly and easy to understand
This combination allowed me from the start to feel both secure and motivated and I was in a mode to learn a lot about the handling of this unique aircraft in a short time (our flight only took about 30-40 minutes). Previous to the flight Iztok explained to me that his design was targeted on the premises/objectives to build a plane for:
After my flight experience I could fully subscribe to these fundamental characteristics. The ONE is a perfect combination of the three above aspects.
Compared to the aircraft which I usually fly (C172, PA28 etc.) it seems that ONE is extremely fragile or even easily “breakable”. But that is an inherent feeling when flying an SLA and the same sensation comes up with any aircraft of his category. Remember it was my first time in such a light aircraft and I weigh well over 100 kg! But once you know how to enter/leave the aircraft (with Iztek’s verbal support), it really became easy and a comparable procedure of other aircraft. Two days before I had the chance to visit the ONE Aircraft factory and received a thorough explanation from the production manager giving me a firsthand picture of what structure constituted the ONE. This gave me a lot of confidence: The ONE has high strength ad is rugged and robust despite its super light-weight fiber-covered monocoque construction technology used for wing, fuselage and tail section.
And then (with extremely few checklist items) we finally took off on the grass runway. The airplane responded very sensitive to my commands which I realized very fast once we were airborne. It flew just beautifully, I must say, and the aircraft felt stable and powerful enough in the climb-out (this is ony the Rotax 112 with 100 hp, imagine the turbo charged Rotax 114 with 135 hp!). I felt convinced about the aerodynamics of the ONE as we easily gained altitude. Very convincing for me was the semi-automatic configuration management system (propeller pitch and flap setting) before and after take-off, making flying easy and less distracting as with the usual planes I fly. One button click lifts the flaps to zero, two adjacent clicks decreases RPM from 5500 to 5300. This self-made system of ONE aircraft is absolutely great and so easy to handle! It gives you free time to concentrate on actually flying the plane rather than on configuration settings.
The ONE is fast in flight and fast to respond in all axis and planes. It flies like a fighter aircraft and needs merely fine adjustments to steer. The mechanical trimming is also easy, while the electrical trim on the joke didn’t work on this aircraft time. The eCopilot glass cockpit also had a small error (Iztok says it’s easy to correct this with a minor software change) as the artificial horizon showed the ground/air reference background to big during the climb. Anyway the instruments are not really needed to fly this plane safely as it allows plenty of outside reference through its large cockpit windows. With the ONE you really feel close to nature and you actually feel like a bird in the sky, where instincts become more important once you are airborne.
In cruise, the engine can be reduced to a low fuel consumption (down to approx. 12 liters/h) allowing you to fly 10+ hours on a 142 liter tank! Amazing range at a speed of 222 km/h! So yes, the aircraft with its 2+2 (or 2+1) seating is practical for a young family with small children to be used for vacation or a weekend trip for a couple. That confirms the practical side of the plane (a design goal).
Landing the ONE is particularly easy. The flaps are extremely effective making it feasible to descend at a high gradient and put the plane down on a very short field. We stopped at around 100 meters when we (Iztok) tried it out. The ONE flies fast when it is clean (with a back slanting front edge wing) and slow when with fully extended flaps. This makes it both agile and safe at the same time.
And when you look at the shape you just have to love it! The shape just confirms the excellent flying conditions at a glance! When I saw the attractive design the very first time at the AERO 2016 in Friedrichshafen I knew I had to go to Celje and try it out in the air. Also the fact that that the NE can accommodate a third person if need be – with a corresponding fuel loading. What I learned later on, was that there is a long list of impressive USPs once you get into the technical details of the ONE. Just ask the manufacturer and he will be happy to provide you the beauty list. For me the ONE is a great combination of excellent design, performance and economic operating features.
In today’s congested world such an aircraft seems the perfect way for transportation; it just makes plenty of sense to use such an aircraft at a price which is very reasonable. I am myself very interested to buy ONE myself (waiting time from order to delivery is 3 months). I probably have to give it some until next year, which is the only drawback I can see!
Once you fly it, you love it!
It’s really addictive!
H. Frey, Zurich 02.08 2016
M +41 79 904 36 04