By Dan Johnson.
Let’s get that name dealt with right away—say, “ACK-will-lay.” The model’s name looks more awkward than it is and sounds more graceful than it looks. The word translates from Latin as “eagle.” Though unusual, Aquilae is a worthy name for a light aircraft.
When you glance at the photos, do you get the feeling you’ve seen this before? You should, but you may be wrong.
Popular Design Configuration
Aquilae looks very much like—but is not—the G1 STOL. Some years before G1 arrived here in the U.S., I’d written about a French-produced version after seeing it equipped with hand controls and its wings folded compactly on a trailer at the German Aero Friedrichshafen show. The basic design has been flying for close to 25 years.
Originally developed as the Yuma by Alisport, a French company, the design was later taken over by G1 Aviation, another French company that does extensive machine shop work for several aircraft builders. Alisport produced plans for its Yuma, and that’s what G1 used when it took over after the original Alisport engineer retired. It is also what Aquilae is using.
Yuma itself may have started as a modification of the Zenith CH-701, though these threads get increasingly hard to follow when changes are made.
Aquilae seen in the medium bush plane configuration. A gnarlier Grizzly version is planned with more absorbent shocks on all gear plus a powerful Rotax 916iS engine. [Dan Johnson]All this made me look twice when I first spotted the gleaming Aquilae in polished aluminum.
Mark Mellicker represented the G1 STOL at airshows for the last couple years. As happens in aviation and any other business, events changed the organization and another company at AirVenture told me they were now representing G1. So, I had two clues when I saw Mellicker by this shiny new airplane. Mellicker decided to go on his own and, voila!, Aquilae.
You see, Mellicker’s version has the simple wing-fold system that…