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The CZAW SportCruiser is a two seat, single engine, tricycle undercarriage, fixed-wing aircraft that was introduced in 2006 by Czech Aircraft Works (CZAW), now named Czech Sport Aircraft.
In January 2010, the SportCruiser was added to the Piper Aircraft line as the PiperSport under a licencing agreement with Czech Sport Aircraft but the arrangement wasn't successful and the deal was canceled in January, 2011.
The aircraft is of all aluminum construction with a low wing configuration. It can be fitted with either a Rotax 912ULS or a Jabiru 3300 engine. Approved propellers include: Woodcomp SR3000 2 and 3 blade, Woodcomp Classic 3 blade and Sensenich 2 blade with nickel leading edge.
The SportCruiser was optionally available with a Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute, auto pilot and Dynon or TruTrak EFIS .
The aircraft is capable of cruise at 133 mph (115 knots or 215 km/h) with a range of 630 statute miles (1020 km). No wind, standard day gross weight takeoff is achieved in 106 metres (350 ft) and landing in 123 metres (400 ft).
The SportCruiser is designed to fit into the ultralight or microlight category in several countries as well as the USA 's Light-sport Aircraft category. Between 2006 and 2010 it was available either as a kit, or as a fully built production model. The SportCruiser is accepted as a US FAA LSA, FAA homebuilt kit and accepted as home-built kit in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.K.
On 21 January 2010 Piper Aircraft announced that they had licensed a derivative of the SportCruiser and will market it as the ''PiperSport''. Piper CEO Kevin Gould said: "The PiperSport is an amazing entry-level aircraft that will bring new customers into Piper and lead the way for those customers to step up into more sophisticated and higher performance aircraft within our line over time."
The PiperSport is a minimally modified version of the existing SportCruiser and will continue to be manufactured by Czech Sport Aircraft, with Piper's manufacturing operation playing no part in the construction, although Piper will distribute parts. The changes to the aircraft are stronger nosegear, a Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute and leather interior both as standard equipment, a cockpit sunshade and modified pitch controls, plus a custom paint scheme. Previously the Sport Cruiser was available as a completed aircraft or a kit, but Piper will offer it only as a completed aircraft, sold as a Special Light-sport aircraft in the USA. It will be distributed by the Piper dealer network worldwide. Deliveries under the Piper name commenced with the initial customer receiving their aircraft on 13 April 2010 at Sun 'n Fun . The aircraft is offered in three different trim and avionics configurations, with higher end models offering the Dynon D100 glass cockpit and autopilot . All models will be equipped with the Rotax 912S powerplant.
Piper indicated that they carried out extensive test flying on the SportCruiser before agreeing to add it to their line and that the aircraft's slow sales in the past were related to marketing issues and not any deficiencies with the aircraft design. Piper will market the aircraft to flight schools as well as private owners.
In analyzing the Piper decision to distribute the SportCrusier, instead of design its own LSA, AvWeb analyst Paul Bertorelli said:
On 12 January 2011, Piper announced that the PiperSport would be discontinued. A Piper press release said:
Version built 2006-10 by Czech Sport Aircraft, available as a kit or completed aircraft and equipped with Rotax 912ULS or Jabiru 3300 engine.
Version built 2010-2011 by Czech Sport Aircraft and marketed by Piper Aircraft, available only as a completed aircraft and equipped with Rotax 912ULS engine. Discontinued in January 2011.