“ Manufacturer: Wessex Light Aeroplane Company Ltd / Type:Microlight Aeroplane „
After many long years of training and renting aircraft I had decided it was time to purchase my own flying machine. Renting aircraft does not come cheap at around £95 an hour and a day trip was costing me almost a deposit on a new plane every time that I flew but it was time to make the change, I was buying my own! I was let down often by the weather when booking rental slots and I had always dreamed of turning up at the airport whenever I wanted to take a trip up into the 'Big Blue Sky' of ours.
*** A bit about the X'air Falcon microlight aircraft ***
The X'air Falcon is a very strange original looking microlight aircraft that has been designed for the true pleasure of flying and to make light aviation available to almost anyone of pretty much any income. The aircraft is actually a kit built and it comes in two rather huge boxes for the pilot to build over a few years with lots of paperwork and test flights along the way.... No doubt that all of the work is truly worth it as I found out! I was lucky and bought my aircraft brand new but ready assembled with everything ready to fly, all it needed was a test flight and some hours of flying put on to it to confirm that the engine was actually up to standards - Luckily it was! Once this was done the aircraft was fully passed through all of the tests and I could enjoy it with family and friends and give them a taste of 'the sky'. For only £9000 I had a new plane and a new life as I started exploring around the beautiful country of ours!
Unfortunately Dooyoo have used the wrong picture for the 'X'air Falcon' which is very much different to the one shown, here is a link to a picture of my actual plane with me inside to give you a better idea:
I have named my machine 'The Jaffa' and you probably know why from the photo! So if you hear me saying that name throughout the review, please don't think I'm strange.
The X'air is a two seater (Side by side) aircraft that is designed for new pilots just as much as the more experienced. It is a very light machine being made from an Aluminum / steel frame and being covered in my very bright orange Dacron (Tent like material) skins. These aircraft are available in a huge array of colour choices, I chose orange as it definitely draws huge attention at airports and it looks different, I like different things but the colour also acts as a 'safety feature' up there as I'm probably the brightest machine in the sky! No missing me coming (I hope!)
*** Interior and entrance ***
Now the X'air is a slight challenge to get in and out of, it requires slight acrobatic skills as the doors are slightly narrow and you have to enter under the wing with a few poles to clear as you enter. I would say that this aircraft is not suitable for the old age or anyone with difficulty bending or twisting all shapes and it can be a challenge but once you're inside it is perfectly comfortable. The seats are of an excellent quality being much better than any other aircraft that I have had pleasure of flying in the past. They are very much like car seats but slightly narrower with full harnesses for safety and security as you can fly these with the doors removed (You don't want to fall out!). The leg room is fine for both the pilot and passenger with two full sets of controls so both can have a go at flying the beast!
*** Time for take-off ***
The X'air is surprisingly very easy to fly; I had my instructor take me up for the first time as I certainly did not want to smash my new machine up on the first day! After a few take off and landings I was ready to take to the skies on my own in 'The Jaffa' Hooray! I jumped in and anxiously started her up and off I went.
As soon as I took to the air on my own I realised just how lovely this machine was to fly. It is delightfully smooth in almost any conditions and it flies as if it's on rail, absolutely faultless handling and it instantly gave me confidence in both my flying and 'The Jaffa' herself. I soon realised just how slow and forgiving the aircraft was with takeoff being in as little as 50 metres from full power and with a cruise speed of only 65mph I could enjoy the view of the countryside. The aircraft is very stable in every possible flying maneuver that is legally allowed and after many hours of flying I have yet to be scared by the machine - even after a slight engine difficulty! On my second flight an oil line popped off the engine and resulted in me having to shut the aircraft down and make an emergency landing which was luckily back at the airfield. The aircraft handled just as well with the engine off as when it was turned on and I made it back perfectly to the runway with no damage at all, this was only on my second flight which shows just how easy this delightful machine is to fly! The engine problem was totally the fault of myself so I cannot blame the machine!
Landing this aircraft does take a bit of getting used to, the engine is up above the nose which I guess adds a lot of weight onto the front of the machine. The best method I had at landing her is to point the plane at the ground at a speed of about 50mph and just above the runway I pull firmly back on the control stick and she settles down nicely. The suspension fitted to this plane as standard is absolutely fantastic which allows landings in unprepared fields a pleasure; this combined with the extremely slow flying speeds makes this aircraft perfect for short strip flying and safety.
*** The aircrafts controls ***
The X'air Falcon is fitted with the standard aircraft controls found on much bigger aircraft such as Cessna's etc. There is a control stick between both the pilots and passengers legs that are rather long and quite responsive. I don't want to bore any of you non pilots but to fly you simply have the seperate throttle (Accelerator as in a car) and to go up you pull the control stick towards you, to go down you push it away from you and left and right are quite self-explanatory! Obviously it's slightly harder than that and it takes a while to co-ordinate all of your maneuvers but once you've sussed it you have it for life.
*** Visibility and other bits and bobs ***
The visibility has to be one of the best things about the X'air Falcon. The cockpit is nice and roomy and the main screen is made out of lexan - a transparent plastic that is rather strong and easy to clean. You have almost full surround vision in the plane that gives you a fantastic view of wherever you are flying. If you enjoy taking pictures of the ground below you then you can remove the doors but you won't see me doing this anytime soon!
The aircraft is slightly slow with a 65mph cruise speed so it is not really classed as a true touring microlight. This speed has not stopped me exploring as I do not get too bored waiting around to get places as the surroundings are always so beautiful, how could you possibly get bored looking down at everything happening below? I find touring in this machine a true pleasure as the seats are comfy and the leg room is just about enough, I'm roughly 6ft4 and I fit inside easily.... I do sometimes have to land and stretch my legs for a bit every few hours but I usually need to top up on fuel anyway. The fuel efficiency is rather good and it burns on average 9 litres per hour at roughly 65mph but it's not about the travelling for me, it's the true pleasure of flying and that's worth every penny.
The aircraft can be fueled with normal petrol or standard aircraft Avgas, both are easily available at any airport and the machine holds 50 litres of fuel which allows flights of up to 4 hours easy. It is easily refilled by opening a flap on the side of the fuselage and simply filling her up with the desired amount of fuel.
*** Genareal maintenance ***
This is a microlight aircraft which allows the pilots to do pretty much all of the maintenance themselves. There is nothing much to go wrong with these wonderful flying machines but they must be checked over thoroughly before you take off - only a stupid pilot takes off without this simple operation being carried out. The engine maintenance is the main one but I won't bother talking about that as there are so many different engine types to consider and every manufacturer recommends different maintenance procedures. Once a year the machine is checked over by an inspector and is taken for a quick flight to make sure it is working as it should, any problems will be reported to the owner and they will need fixing before any flight continues and until the next permit to fly is issued (Very similar to a car MOT but much stricter). Other maintenance is basically making sure that your wing covers are in serviceable condition and that all joints / pulleys are properly lubricated with minimum friction.
I always maintain mine to the best of my ability and it has treated me very well. I actually enjoy maintaining my own machine and I find it very interesting learning new things from other pilots at the airport every day. One thing I have learnt about flying is that you never stop learning and I have learnt an absolute fortune of mechanical knowledge since owning this and I am very keen to learn even more.
*** Overall opinion ***
The machine is fantastically built and spare parts are always readily available, every component seems to be of an excellent quality and there are no know problems with the hundreds of these machines flying in the UK and all over the world infact! The manufacturer 'Rand Kar' based in India has sold thousands of these machines with huge success and they are always highly regarded by their owners.
I personally love my little flying machine 'Jaffa' and so does everyone else that has been invited up in her for a local flight, she's always there when I feel the need to fly and I do not regret buying her at all. I have visited some very nice places in this machine and I enjoy every flight that I manage to squeeze into my busy working life, if only I had more time! The machine is slightly slow and draggy but this does not take away from the pure pleasure of flying and being off the ground away from it all. I recommend everyone to try flying at least once in your life time, who knows..... You could be a pilot within a year with your own funky little flying machine just like this one, give it a go! If you do, I'd say definitely buy yourself an X'air as they are strong, durable and very easy to fly which give any new pilot huge confidence in the machine that they are flying.
Well done X'air for making such a lovely machine that I do not regret buying at all, there are also some newer models out now that I will hopefully own in the future! Please visit their website for any more information:
Also you can see me flying my orange beast if you go on youtube.... Search for 'Jaffa Swansea' and you'll see the orange wing!
Thanks for reading,