High Performance Very Light Twin
Spectrum Aircraft Corporation of Florida just introduced the
A-36 "Vulcan", a brand new two-seat, twin-engine sport plane.
Commissioned by Spectrum, the new Vulcan was designed and
engineered by Aeroprakt Ltd., a European sport-aircraft
manufacturer with a design team of aerospace engineers from
Antonov, the ex-soviet developer of large transport jets.
"We're very pleased with the new Vulcan. Aeroprakt put their
heart & soul into the design, while keeping with their very
disciplined & scientific engineering approach, " said Spectrum
president John Hunter. "The result is a new design unlike any
The new sport-twin is a CAD/CAM design (computer aided
design/computer aided manufacture), employing the latest
engineering software and modern CNC machinery. It is designed with
all-metal wings and tail, with a composite forward-fuselage cockpit
structure. This results in a high strength-to-weight ratio, optimum
aerodynamic efficiency and superior occupant protection. Careful
attention was given to maximize outward visibility, and comfort.
Two 100 hp Rotax 912-S engines power the 980-pound aircraft.
The A-36 made its maiden flight September 18, 2004 and began a
rigorous 6-month flight testing phase.
"As a 'go anywhere' aircraft, the Vulcan was designed for a
broad speed range, " said Hunter. "It needed a low stall-speed in
order to have superior STOL and rough field performance and the
ability to fly slow when you are down low, at tree top level. 'Low
and slow' is why it needed twin-engine reliability in the first
place. But with 200 hp, we knew its cruise speed could be very
competitive against lesser-powered, heavier, general aviation
standards like the Piper Cherokee & Cessna 172. We wanted the
best of both worlds."
Hunter wanted it to match a Super Cub as a bush plane, yet
provide a big improvement in reliability and visibility. The
aircraft was designed to have a 42 mph stall speed and a Vh of 160
mph at sea level. He reported that in low level tests, chief
engineer and test pilot Yuri Yakolev has reported an indicated
stall speed of 38 mph, a maximum cruise speed of 162 mph, and a top
speed of 170 mph (in level flight).
"Above all, the A-36 was designed for exemplary single engine
performance, which was achieved by coupling close-centerline thrust
in a pusher configuration with a high power-to-weight ratio, "
explained Hunter. "The concept is well proven by the twin-engine
Air Cam and A-26, and the A-36 has a better power to weight than
With a gross weight of 1,660 pounds, power-to-weight ratio is
only 8.3 pounds per horsepower. The A-36 breaks new ground for
sport-twin single engine performance. It was designed to have a
single engine rate of climb of 800 fpm and a service ceiling of
The initial rate of climb for the twin is listed as 2,200 fpm,
and service ceiling is listed as 28,000 feet msl. Standard
wing-tank fuel capacity is 32 gallons. Spectrum reports that A-36
will go on sale in the US this fall as a kit plane with an
estimated total cost for a completed, well equipped Vulcan of less
than $120,000 including a "Horizon" EFIS, EIS digital engine
monitors, and Becker transceiver and transponder.