Oshkosh 2011: Flying the Remos GX NXT at AirVenture
There’s no better way to start off an EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wis., with a little flying out of the world’s busiest airport (during the week-long show, at least). Last year, the Gobosh folks were kind enough to invite me to fly the Gobosh 700A Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). This year, Remos Aircraft is demonstrating its newest LSA, the GX NXT, a high-wing composite two-seater powered by a 100-hp Rotax 912ULS.
If you haven’t flown an LSA yet, you’re missing a real treat. These airplanes are not warmed-over Aeronca Champs or Piper Cubs (although some LSA manufacturers have brought long-needed updates to those old designs). The Remos GX NXT is surprisingly sophisticated and built with the careful attention to detail one expects from German engineers.
Ryan Hernandez, a flight instructor who teaches in LSAs and Part 23 airplanes in Springdale, Ark., sat in the right seat while I flew the NXT. Unlike a lot of demo pilots, Hernandez let me do all the flying, including the fun and challenging takeoff and landing at Oshkosh’s busy Wittman Regional Airport.
Pilots who haven’t flown LSAs might think the airplanes aren’t roomy, but they’re wrong. The Remos NXT is much more spacious than a Cessna 152 and the seats, covered in leather in this airplane, are plenty comfortable. The only option missing in this NXT was the Magnum 601 parachute recovery system, but it was equipped with a long list of options, including dual Dynon SkyView PFD/MFDs with synthetic vision, Garmin Aera 510 GPS, Dynon autopilot with heading, nav tracking and altitude hold, Garmin SL30 navcom, wing-folding kit and more.
The NXT has an oil-cooler shutter, used mostly to limit airflow to help the oil warm up on cold days, according to Hernandez. Flying the NXT felt completely normal, even though flight controls are floor-mounted control sticks. Hernandez said we weren’t near the 1,320-pound gross weight; climb-out was better than 700 fpm at about 75 knots. We climbed to 4,500 feet for some air work, including steep turns and stalls, which were normal with no surprises. The NXT (and all Remos LSAs with Dynon avionics) have angle-of-attack indicators, something that all manufacturers should install. “We think it’s great to have that,” said Christian Majunke, Remos head of design.
The NXT handles well; controls are harmonized and pitch forces are not too light. Although the flight controls are balanced, there are no springs used to manage pitch forces, according to Majunke.
The Rotax engine can burn autogas, including E10 with 10-percent ethanol. Hernandez says he flight plans five gallons per hour, but the Remos brochure lists fuel consumption at a maximum endurance power setting at 3.5 gph. Fuel capacity is 21 gallons, and while there is a fuel gauge on the Dynon displays, there is also a sight tube behind the right seat for quick backup checks of the fuel load.
The NXT’s pitch-trim tab (pitch trim is electric, using a button on the top of the stick) is unusual in that there is no ordinary hinge where the tab attaches to the left elevator. Special flexible composite materials are used, Majunke said, to make an elastic flap (tab). And the composite “hinge” doesn’t wear out from repeated use.
The composite work on the NXT is impressive. Looking along the trailing edge of the wing, one can see the space between the top of the aileron and flaps and the wing trailing edge is perfectly even. The aileron and flap trailing edges are also straight with no waviness. Under the ASTM standards that LSAs must meet, there is no life limit on the airframe, Majunke said.
Remos has been manufacturing aircraft since the early 1990s and the GX series since 2008. So far, Remos has sold about 150 GXs, about half in the U.S. The GX NXT would make an excellent trainer, and indeed Hernandez has used the NXT for light sport, private pilot and instrument rating training. Base price for the NXT is $142,258, and options add another $25,000 to $30,000.