2014 Air Conception Race 130

Flown 11/08/2014, Reviewed 11-14-2014

Air Conception has been focusing on lightweight powerhouses but this is a new high, or low, depending on your perspective. As best I can tell, this is the highest power-to-weight machine available.

The example I flew was Eric Dufour's demonstrator at Wings Over Winter near Orlando, FL in November 2014. It has a clutch, belt drive and flash starter with probably less than 20 hours. I flew it on my Ozone Viper 18 in light winds and about 78 F.

Weight: The importer gives its weight at 40 pounds without fuel and, after picking it up, I don't doubt it. That really is remarkable for a 130cc machine and leaves you wondering if they forgot an engine. Taking that much weight out does leave some compromises, namely in comfort which I'll get to.

Harness & Suspension: Several attachment systems are available but this was the underarm S-arm weight shift system. Its hang/pivot point is high enough to minimize forward tilt during power up. Two pivot points exist: the base of the carabiner and where the S-arm attaches to the frame. Forward tilt at power up happens a at both points but mostly from the carabiner. All pivoting arm machines are like this. If the thrust line is above the pivot point you get more tilting.

The harness has been pared down for weight including the padding which is thin. Buckles are conventional but thin and really lightweight. They include a safety chest strap so, if the chest buckle is done, at least one leg must be done, too. That prevents a catastrophe if you try to take off without fastening the leg straps.

Starting (-): It has a flash starter which, although it's easy, requires the right touch. You have to pull it a certain speed like any starter but that speed is much lower. Plus there's no compression to overcome -- the spring takes care of that.

The handle was on the left about the height of my forearm. It had been flown probably 30 minutes prior so it had some chance to cool down but I was still able to start it while wearing the motor. That's good.

Ground Handling & Kiting (-): It was well balanced on my back although I could feel the frame's cross bar somewhat though the thin padding.

Being lightweight makes ground handling and launching easier.

Launch (-): I did a reverse but the titanium cage should be ok to do power forwards under most circumstances.

Climbout (-): Normal.

Flight (-): Fore-aft tilt during power changes is well managed, similar to other machines of this power.

Weight Shift (-) Very good. The 6 to 8 inches of riser travel required minimal effort.

Torque (-): I twisted a fair amount after liftoff, a bit more than average, but throttling back a bit solved it. Later I went to full power to see how far my body pointed left relative to the wing -- it was about 30 degrees. Being lightweight on a fairly powerful machine makes it feel worse.

Thrust (-): Very good and immediate. The motor ran very smooth throughout the range and had better than average response time. There was no waffling at a constant power setting.

Endurance (-): How long can you fly. How thirsty is the motor.

Vibration (-): Engine vibration was a bit above average, just enough to slightly blur my vision while sitting back at cruise. I strongly suspect that one additional inch of padding would correct that.

Sound (-): It's a bit louder than average. 

Safety (-): Average. One welcome feature is good prop clearance from the gas tank so it's less likely to be breeched in a crash. Like most machines, the netting would not likely keep an open human hand out of the prop at high power.

Construction (-): I didn't look super close but it seems well built from a cursory inspection.

Is the motor well cooled?

Reparability (-): Being Titanium limits the number of people who can weld but construction is typical and access to the motor is excellent.

Transport (-): Not tested.

Overall & More Info: Great lightweight machine with lots of power. Air Conception is pushing the limit at what's possible with light weight while appeasing those with a thirst for thrust.

Screen grab cropped to show the motor. I didn't take any detail stills so this will have to do.

© 2016 Jeff Goin & Tim Kaiser   Remember: If there's air there, it should be flown in!