• Review: Shade Tree Micro Aviation AT-11 Kansan

    Taxiing & Takeoff

    As many of you will know, manoeuvring on the ground with a taildragger, takes a bit more skill than an aircraft with tricycle gear, and the AT-11 is no exception. However, locking the tailwheel at the appropriate times, makes taxiing a far more enjoyable experience. Failure to do this, will result in the aircraft performing doughnuts - which is not very good for your pilot credentials!

    Once on to the active, it's time to select one notch of flaps and full power. At around 100 knots, I gently pulled back on the yoke, and the aircraft rose smoothly into its climb.

    Shade Tree Micro Aviation - AT-11 Kansan

    With the GNS530 set for Greenwood Lake Airstrip (4N1) a distance of 21 miles, it was time to connect the autopilot. For reference, I use the VR Insight Pro Autopilot Box, but it's just as easy to use the onboard autopilot. Once in level flight, I disconnected the autopilot so as to see how the aircraft handled in the air.

    Performing a series of simple turns and power-off stalls, I found the aircraft to be both smooth and glitch free. There were no nasty surprises or bumps, which I guess is what made the aircraft such a good trainer!

    Shade Tree Micro Aviation - AT-11 Kansan     Shade Tree Micro Aviation - AT-11 Kansan

    With the autopilot once more engaged, the aircraft intercepted the flight plan heading at exactly the right place, and held it there without error.

    After a short time, our destination airport of Greenwood Lake came into view, so it was off with the autopilot and back to manual control (far more exciting). As I headed straight in to runway 06, I selected two notches of flaps and slowed. I remember thinking that I must be near the stall limit, but the aircraft remained stable and the warning buzzer silent...phew!

    Shade Tree Micro Aviation - AT-11 Kansan

    As I floated down, there was the reassuring sound of the tires touching the asphalt, and as I applied the brakes, the aircraft began to settle. Slowing sufficiency, I exited the runway and continued to airport parking!

    Flight Analysis

    STMA's AT-11 Kansan takes a lot of beating. Visually, the model looks great, is stable during flight, and has nice and intuitive navigational features. The only fly in the ointment as far as I was concerned, was the apparent ease in which the aircraft performed doughnuts whilst on the ground. Maybe the developers could have a look at this?

    Shade Tree Micro Aviation - AT-11 Kansan     Shade Tree Micro Aviation - AT-11 Kansan

    Cost

    The purchase price of the STMA AT-11 at time of writing is, $29.95, £22.97, AU$41.44. Where this falls in terms of other aircraft pricing, I would say roughly in the middle. However, unlike many other similarly priced aircraft I have purchased over the years, I would have to say the AT-11 is more than worth it.

    Final Thoughts

    Throughout my flight trials with the AT-11, I found the model to be both rewarding and satisfying to fly. The numerous sound samples used for the engines, flaps, warnings, etc., were all of high quality, and in true STMA tradition, frame rates were never an issue (not something I can say for all aircraft developers). In terms of faults, there was only the previously mentioned issue of the aircraft's tendency to spin on taxi, but that was about it.

    Shade Tree Micro Aviation - AT-11 Kansan     Shade Tree Micro Aviation - AT-11 Kansan

    Which leaves me to give STMA's AT-11 Kansan a final score, and in this case, it's a pleasure to award the aircraft 9 out of 10.

    Thank you for reading, and I hope you found this review both informative and interesting. See you next time.

    Paul Mort

    Purchase STMA - AT-11 Kansan

    Shade Tree Micro Aviation - AT-11 Kansan     Shade Tree Micro Aviation - AT-11 Kansan

    Tags: at-11, kansan, stma

    1 Comment
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Nice review Paul; lovely looking model.
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