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Which is better... ?

MadamBreakneck

Cross Country Pilot
#1
I've been asked by PM which I prefer between Thruster and X'Air. I answered that it depends (or words to that effect). I thought that could make for an interesting thread.
So have at it guys...
 

Martin Watson

Cross Country Pilot
#2
As you say Joan, it depends. On lots of things, like
- which model of each type?
- which engine?
- what covering material?
- what do you want to do with it?
I've owned a Standard Xair with a 582, a Thruster TST with a 503, and a Thruster T600N with a Jabiru. I also done loads of hours teaching in various Xair Falcons with Jabiru engines and T600s with 582s. They're all fine aircraft/engine combinations and if I was starting out again I'd buy any of them as long as I was happy with the condition and price of the individual aircraft - much the most important thing imho.
Xair- really good with the 582, a bit slow and thirsty, undercarriage very forgiving and good for rough strips
Xair- Falcon good with either 582 or Jab. The flaps don't really add much. Ailerons controlled by cables (unlike the standard Xair) which are a pain and sloppy. Very heavy to move by hand on the ground (not sure why this is, but they're very awkward CF others). Same good undercarriage and fly a bit faster.
Thruster - lots of different types but the T600 is good with either Jab or 582. Faster than Xairs. More durable covering material. Slightly easier to get into but the seats are uncomfortable. Good rough strip performance again. Not really room or weight allowance for baggage - Xairs better in that respect.

Worth pointing out that Xairs are kit built, Thruster is factory. Among other things that means things like instruments and overall finish can be very variable in the Xair but standardised in Thruster.

I could waffle on loads more, but time for someone else to chip in and tell me where they disagree :)
 

Halibut

Cross Country Pilot
#3
Thruster - lots of different types but the T600 is good with either Jab or 582. Faster than Xairs. More durable covering material. Slightly easier to get into but the seats are uncomfortable. Good rough strip performance again. Not really room or weight allowance for baggage - Xairs better in that respect.

Hi, Martin. Can you replace the seats or are the available replacements too heavy? And how much can you stow in front of the panel? I saw one with a little luggage net that looked like it would take a little tent. Realistically, if you both weighed a total 21 stone, could you take overnight gear?
 

Martin Watson

Cross Country Pilot
#4
21 stone is 133kg. My T600 (as an example, individual aircraft vary from each other) can take a load of 151kg and full fuel. So you would have approx 18kg of baggage allowance. Or more if you set off with less than full tanks.
That's quite good I'd say. It doesn't work out so well for pie eaters like me!
Finding room is an issue though. Really you need any baggage to be under the seats - further away will upset the balance. And it must be secure and not interfere with the controls. The Xair has a nice baggage compartment behind the seats. It's limited to 5kg I think. There's not much other room in an Xair, but I'd think you can squeeze a bit more in.

I don't think swapping the seats is really an option. There are softer seat covers on some. Actually you do get used to them and they're not really a problem - it's just that in comparison the seats in the Xair are like armchairs!
 
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MadamBreakneck

Cross Country Pilot
#5
I think swapping seats would be classed as a Major Modification; crashworthiness being one issue. Thrusters were delivered with removeable seat covers. A common trick is to put a layer of firm foam under that. Even a quarter inch of carpet underlay makes a difference. Complaining about Thruster seats is a fashion item (egged on if I might say by the editor of MF).

Lots of fashion in microlighting - some engines, for instance, may never be criticised when others are permitted to be slagged off at the slightest pretext. :rolleyes:
 

"SMOKE ON GO"

Cross Country Pilot
#6
Comparing the Thruster with an XAir is different horses for different courses.
The Thruster has seats that after an hours flight you need a 2hr recovery sitdown on a comfy chair....The Xair has seats that you can survive a 2hr flight without needing a recovery sitdown.
Both do share a very slow cruise speed so by no means a racehorse but I would much prefer enduring the Xair for anything more than a short hop.

Not really seen the point of flaps on the Xair Falcon when it has already been said they do very little or nothing.

Seeing as the Xair & Thruster are both known as slotherly beasts I am not sure why so many still get dragged along by fuel guzzling two strokers?
What are the engine options from the four stroke types that are well suited to these models?
Not really a fan of Jabiru engines because they seem temperamental so are we really only stuck with the 912 as an alternative that fits these types or are there others available?
I would assume very few 912 engines get fitted to the Xair & Thruster because the engine would be the biggest outlay when building or speccing either.

Are there cheaper options that work well with these types?
Are there any engines that aren't recommended seeing as Madam Breakneck has said some engines do get slagged off.
 

Aerial

Cross Country Pilot
#7
I've never flown in a Thruster but used to own a standard Xair.

Quote from Martin "Finding room is an issue though. Really you need any baggage to be under the seats - further away will upset the balance. And it must be secure and not interfere with the controls. The Xair has a nice baggage compartment behind the seats. It's limited to 5kg I think. There's not much other room in an Xair, but I'd think you can squeeze a bit more in."

I was never in the position to take much 'stuff' any distance but I thought the space directly above the cockpit in the wing centre section to keep it over the CofG would come in handy. Re-usable ty-raps around the main fuselage tube and refit the nappy would be the way to do it. Under seats is also good if you can get things in there but my seats were bolted at 4 corners to the floor. The seats were quite comfortable for me at 1m 65 height and slim build but it is an aquired knack for getting in and out of the cockpit that's for sure!

There are many combinations of engine and propeller, you'll need to see the Type Data Sheet. Rotax 582s are by far the most popular with probably optimum horsepower for the airframe. I haven't heard of any Jabiru engines going u/s for some years. I think all the bugs have now been ironed out and the knowledge of how to operate them has been passed around.
 

"SMOKE ON GO"

Cross Country Pilot
#8
Looking at the data sheets it looks like the Jabiru / BMW 100RS / Verner 133 / HKS 700 are fitted into the Xair in the four stroke class.
I noticed the Zanzottera MZ 202 upright is a two stroke in the Xair options list: Has anyone ever used this engine & how does it compare to other two strokes?
Looking at the data sheets it looks like the Jabiru / ULP 260 / D-Motor LF26 / Verner 133 / HKS 700 / Rotax 912 are fitted into the Xair Falcon in the four stroke class.
Looking at the data sheets it looks like the Jabiru is the only four stroke fitted into the Thruster 600.

Looking at the Xair options other than the Jabiru & 912 what are the others like?

I was also told the Xair comes with 2 different door sizes? is that correct?
 

Dave Morton

Cross Country Pilot
#9
We had a trip from our airfield up to Glenforsa a while back, plenty of aircraft ranging from CT's to flexwings and also a jab powered Xair which performed excellently although the comfort of the seats for the 6ft plus pilot and pax was a conversation piece after each leg but quickly forgotten about after alcohol
 
#10
Looking at the data sheets it looks like the Jabiru / BMW 100RS / Verner 133 / HKS 700 are fitted into the Xair in the four stroke class.

I was also told the Xair comes with 2 different door sizes? is that correct?
I've flown all these engines (not all on Xair). The only one I'd care to own is a Jabiru.
BMW used more oil than petrol
Verner gives lots of EFATO practice
HKS is very underpowered compared to the 582 two stroke and spares are pretty much unobtainable

The other four strokes that are approved for the Falcon are really too heavy for it in my opinion, they ruin the handling.

Early Xairs had VERY narrow doors. Don't buy one without checking you can get in and out.

These aircraft were designed really with the Rotax 582 in mind and they work very well with it. There's nothing wrong with a well maintained two-stroke and although they use more fuel they are cheaper to buy - enough to pay for hundreds of hours of extra fuel.
 
#11
It's many years since I've flown an X Air, I found it a pleasent aircraft, nice handling, comfy seats the downside after Thruster flying was the restricted view. OK that is still better than many but I felt that I was flying in blinkers. As others have said the undercarriage is excellent even having a designed weak spot of the axle to prevent expensive damage in a bad landing. They just go a bit bow legged to tell you to change the axle.
Thrusters, I'm talking T600Ns excellant handling that is what made them great training machines, they will tell you when you make mistakes but they don't punish you for them. Good all round view with and almost student proof undercarriage. Then there are those seats, as they come they are hard but there can't be many with a good foam insert under the seat cover. I once made the mistake in a TST (same seats) of flying for one and half hours and one leg felt almost unable to move and I worried about being able to use the rudder on landing, as they say I learnt from that. With decently padded seats I've since done far longer flights without discomfort. I've flown T600ns with both Jabs and 582s and both deliver plenty of power although the 582 is thirsty and the Jab just sips fuel.
As Aerial says a lot has been learnt about Jabs over the years and once you get to know them I was very pleased with them. The two main pointers that I found were in hot weather watch your CHTs, do not let them overheat ever, and never let them stand without running for too long they can build up corrosian on the cylinder and valve seats on the one that has an open valve. If you think that may be the case you will be able to feel the compressions by turning the prop (ing off of course) as you have no gearbox.
Both very nice aircraft.
 
#12
I think looking at Thruster or X'Air with the intention of 'going places' is missing the point. They are designed to be a relatively cheap way to achieve the pleasures of being airborne, not as a means of commuting. If you want to enjoy the journey, they're fine: if you are only thinking of getting to the destination as soon as you can, then you need a different mount and a different budget.
 
#13
I can attest to the durability of the Thruster undercarriage - I bounced a school T600N most of the way down 15 at Northrepps!
The seat comfort depends on the occupant - at a skinny 75kg and 6' I find them acceptable.
I've not been in an xair, so I can't make any comparison.
 
#14
I remember watching a factory demo just after the T600 serries came out. Coming in for a landing it was deliberatly dropped on from a better than a foot up, it just spread and then slowly let up again without a bounce. I was, and still am, mightily impressed. Specialy compairing it to our trusty TST with its leaf spring undercarriage, that just handed you straight back any excess energy you gave it. The resulting twang back in the air certainly focuses the mind.
 

Aerial

Cross Country Pilot
#15
Talking undercarriages, my standard X'air had Fournales shock absorbers which I believe were chosen as an option on initial build. A friend also had an X'air with the open springs surrounding the damper. I've had one or 2 rides in that and I think mine gave a far more comfortable ride on our lumpy-bumpy strip.
Mine had a heavy landing one day (I wasn't driving but pax) and touchdown was in quite a soft spot from a good 2, maybe 3 feet. There was a deep indentation in the runway that needed backfilling and whacking with the back of a spade. It seemed there was no damage to the aircraft but I began to notice a rattle from the Stbd side u/c some months later. This turned out to be stretched holes in the little triangular plate that joins the main leg with the drag link and with the other link that goes from the same point to the middle of the fuselage, connecting with the main tube behind the seats.
Quote from Martin again, "Early Xairs had VERY narrow doors." The 2 aircraft I experienced had different door widths (not by much) but it's still somewhat of a gymnastic skill to get into any of them!
 

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