Eagle Aircraft Eagle XT-S 150A VH-VLN (c/n 018) at Camden, NSW (David C Eyre)
Country of origin:
Two-seat light sport and training aircraft
One 93 kw (125 hp) Teledyne Continental IO-240 four-cylinder horizontally opposed air-cooled engine
- Wingspan: 7.16 m (23 ft 6 in)
- Length: 6.45 m (21 ft 2 in)
- Canard span: 4.88 m (16 ft)
- Canard area: 3.48 m² (37.5 sq ft)
- Mainplane area: 5.2 m² (56 sq ft)
- Height: 2.32 m (7 ft 7 in)
- Max speed at sea level: 240 km/h (149 mph)
- Cruising speed at 75% power: 220 km/h (137 mph)
- Economical cruising speed: 194 km/h (120 mph)
- Stalling speed at gross weight full flap: 83 km/h (51 mph)
- Rate of climb at sea level: 318 m/min (1,051 ft/min)
- Service ceiling: 3,657 m (12,000 ft)
- Endurance at 60% power: 5 hours
- Range at 75% power: 993 km (617 miles)
- Fuel capacity: 100 litres (22 Imp gals)
- Empty weight: 430 kg (946 lb)
- Useful load: 220 kg (484 lb)
- Loaded weight: 650 kg (1,430 lb)
The Eagle X was announced in 1986 by Composite Industries Ltd, the Western Australian group which was instrumental in getting the concept into development. Later the company became the manufacturer, and the name was changed to Eagle Aircraft Pty Ltd of Henderson, WA, which itself was a subsidiary of Composite Industries. It was announced later it would be the “World’s first mass-produced all-composite aircraft” following a share issue and Stock Exchange listing.
The prototype EX-P1 single-seater and the XT-S series were designs developed in Western Australia by Neil Graham and his father Deryck Graham, with aeronautical engineer Graham Swannell, with the assistance of American aerodynamicist John Roncz, the design being to meet the then current JAR-VLA requirements for light aircraft.
The Eagle X was a canard, dual-seat, tricycle undercarriage, light sport aircraft with three flying surfaces. The prototype, known as the EX-P1, in fact, was a single-seat machine with a tailwheel undercarriage, and was first flown in July 1985. It was tested for two years in Western Australia as a “proof of concept vehicle” until eventually being retired and placed on display at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, NSW.
The Australian Guild of Air Pilots and Navigators awarded the designer, Graham Swannell, its Grand Masters Australian Medal for bringing the design to fruition. By late 2000 the aircraft was certificated in the United States of America, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand, with work was proceeding towards certifying it in Europe and Africa.
Eventually the production aircraft was released to the market, this having two-seats with dual controls, the joy-stick being in the centre position. The prototype for this model featured three-lifting surfaces, a canard wing at the front, a centre wing, a conventional tail, and a tricycle undercarriage. A prototype known as the Eagle X-Wing was constructed, VH-XEG (c/n E2X-88-1-A-01), fitted with a 58 kw (78 hp) Aeropower engine, flying for the first time at Cunerdin, WA in April 1988. During testing a Continental O-200 engine of 75 kw (100 hp) was fitted, some 200 hours flight testing being carried out.
Production was expected to commence at a facility at Cockburn, WA and plans were envisaged for the development of a two-stroke three-cylinder engine of 75 kw (100 hp). Studies proceeded with a view to hard points being installed for the carriage of external stores, and a Kevlar coating being applied on the lower fuselage as protection against small-arms fire.
Development stalled for a period but in 1989 agreement was reached with Malaysian investors and the aircraft was re-designed by American aeronautical specialist John Roncz. In 1993, with funds guaranteed, production commenced, production aircraft having the Teledyne Continental IO-240 engine.
Whereas the prototype was built of fibreglass, production aircraft used Kevlar, carbon fibre and Nomex honeycomb construction. Flight testing of the pre-production XT-S prototype commenced on 6 November 1992, this becoming VH-XEP (c/n PPT-1). The first flight of the first production XT-S 100 VH-AHH (c/n 001) took place on 23 October 1993 and first customer delivery of an XT-S VH-FPO (c/n 002) occurred in December 1993. The aircraft was certified to JAR-VLA standard on 21 September 1993, the first production aircraft being completed in Malaysia in November 1993.
Initially co-produced in Australia and Malaysia, three variants were available: pastoral with robust interior, basic instrumentation and large tyres for rough fields; trainer for aeroclub use; and sport/executive for recreational and business use. The Eagle 150A was certified on 13 November 1996 and a total of 15 was built, being followed by the Eagle 150B which was certified in Australia on 11 November 1997, FAA certification being granted on 11 February 1999, and the New Zealand Type Acceptance Certificate being issued on 5 May 1999.
A number have been operated by aero clubs around Australia and examples have been registered in New Zealand. The first aircraft delivered to New Zealand was an Eagle 150B ZK-EGL (c/n 019) ferried in 18.5 hours from Perth, WA to Sydney, NSWand then ferried via Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island to Auckland, NZ in another 12.1 hours where it was used as a demonstrator. This was followed by ZK-PNM (c/n 35) and ZK-XAB (c/n 32).
The first production batch comprised ten aircraft and these were retrospectively designated Series 100 in lieu of XT-S, five of these (c/ns 0002, 0003, 0005, 0007 and 0008) being converted to Eagle 150 configuration. Initial production variants were the 150A with the Continental IO-240-A engine and the 150B with the Continental IO-240-B engine, each providing 93 kw (125 hp). Aircraft c/ns 0003 and 0005 were the first shipped to Malaysia; and c/n 0010 was delivered to John Roncz in the USA.
In November 2000 it was announced the US distributor, HGL Aero of Kansas, had ordered 24 aircraft.
In 2001 it was announced by Kentron UAVs, a division of the South African Denel Group, and the Malaysian System Consultancy Services Sdn Bhd, that agreement had been reached whereby airframes would be shipped to South Africa for modification to unmanned aerial vehicle configuration (UAV). These machines were to be externally similar to the standard Eagle 150 except for an unglazed cockpit, the aircraft to be used for information gathering in connection with activities such as illegal border crossings, smuggling, drug-running and piracy. A couple of examples of the UAV variant were placed on display at the first Langkawi Air Show in Malaysia.
In 2002 the Australian production line closed down and all aircraft were subsequently manufactured in Malaysia by Eagle Aircraft (Malaysia), the aircraft now being known as the EAM Eagle 150.
More than 20 examples have appeared on the Australian general aviation register, and examples have appeared on the Recreationl Aviation Australia (RAA) Register, including 24-7017 (c/n 2) and 24-7074 (c/n 14).
Rights to manufacture the aircraft are owned by Composites Technology Research Malaysia (CTRM).