The Arion Aircraft design team cut their teeth in the amateur built light plane sector of the aviation world over the last 15 years. After progressing from Kolbs to Titans to RV's and Esquals, the vision began to emerge of a new sort of light aircraft. One that would look great and offer outstanding performance while remaining affordable for the average amateur builder. To that end four clear design goals emerged:
1. Generous Margins for Safety and Strength
2. Simplicity of Systems for Quick Easy Construction
3. High Performance per HP
4. Excellent Flying Qualities
Safety & Strength ....
The structure of the Lightning was tested extensively for symmetrical and asymmetrical flight loads to over 9 G at a gross weight of 1320 lbs. Torsional testing of the fuselage and tail, load testing of welded parts round out the strength testing profile.
Ballistic Recovery Systems Inc was brought in to help design a safe, strong recovery system for the Lightning. Our fiberglass craftsmen were able to hide the installation inside the molded skins so the good looks of the Lightning would not be changed.
Through a novel mix of molded fiberglass components and welded 4130 steel structures, Arion's team was able to engineer a construction method where no epoxy layups are needed to complete the kit. Just open the box, trim and fit the parts, complete some final fabrication of the parts and bolt the plane together. Top quality aircraft grade hardware is used throughout.
The Lightning cruises at 175 mph on 120 hp, burning 5.5 gallons per hour. Solo climb rates settle in at 1700 fpm. Roll rates exceed 45 degrees/second. Top speed is 190 mph. Need we say more...?
Quick to respond, eager to turn, anxious to accelerate ... this airplane exhibits the strength, speed, and agility of its namesake; Arion, the immortal horse of Hercules. Yet control is stable, light, and intuitive. Just think a maneuver and it just seems to happen. In the pattern Lightning slows unbelievably well to a touchdown speed under 50 mph. Slow speed handling in the pattern is solid. It's a cool cat in the pattern but that Tiger's heart is ready to roar.