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Wed, Jun 03, 2009

Belite Aircraft Acquires Rights To KitfoxLite

New Firm Will Market Kits, Fully Assembled Versions

Wichita, Kansas-based aviation enthusiast and entrepreneur James Wiebe and his wife, Kathy, have acquired the production rights to the Kitfox Lite, and have formed Belite Aircraft to bring it to market. The couple says the airplane will incorporate stronger, lighter carbon fiber components that will allow it to easily meet Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 103 weight requirements.

This is not the KitFox Light Sport Aircraft that has been around since 1984. The Wiebes acquired the tooling, existing parts and manufacturing rights to the aircraft in March of 2009. As a condition of the transaction, they agreed to re-brand the airplane to prevent any confusion with the larger, two-place light sport Kitfox that shares many of the same design features but is owned by another company. Still, this reporter admits some initial misunderstading in that area. Kitfox has recorded more than 4,500 kit sales since its introduction 25 years ago.

An instrument-rated pilot, James Wiebe has developed a proprietary lightweight carbon fiber structure that he is incorporating into the modified airplane's construction. By converting spars, ribs and struts from steel, wood or aluminum to carbon fiber, he has reduced the airplane's empty weight to previously unattainable levels, well below the 254-pound limit specified in FAR Part 103 for this type of aircraft.

"This project, which combines my passions for flying and inventing, is exciting on several levels," Wiebe noted. "From a business perspective, the development and application of our proprietary carbon fiber has lots of potential for other aircraft and in other markets. Its use in this aircraft provides the weight margin that will allow enthusiasts to build it and enjoy the fun of flying it safely and economically. Our proprietary carbon fiber process builds quickly, far faster than aluminum, wood or composite construction. We expect this aircraft to be a practical and popular choice among light sport aircraft," he added.

Wiebe indicated that he plans to incorporate a number of additional modifications into the design that will further improve the airplane's performance and versatility.  He said he plans to show the aircraft this year at Oshkosh. You can bet ANN will be there to give you the whole story.



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