Highlander vs. "the others"

For general discussion of the Just Aircraft family of aircraft.
Includes: Highlander, Escapade, Summit and SuperSTOL.

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Highlander vs. "the others"

Postby jimcham » Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:05 am

I have been shopping around for a ELSA kit for about a year. I flew GA for a for years, 182, Tri-Pacer, Swift, Ect. Was tired of the plane doing the work. I own a Quicksilver Sport 2S. Want a change.

Was first intrduced to Just Aircraft via the internet and finally sat in one in July. Flew a Escapade last weekend and was kinda impressed. Cosy, very responsive to input even in Slow flight. But Underpowered with the Rotax 912.

Would love to hear from builders what their main attraction was to the Just Aircraft. What other kits did your rule out and why? Powerplants: Rotax verses Jabiru which one did you choose and why?
So far the people from the factory have been super, are the responsive to builders problems and are they quick with backordered parts? Is the assembly manual coherent ? Pictures usefull?

I hope you pros can help me make up my mind.
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Why build a Highlander?

Postby Wes » Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:16 am

Jim, Welcome to this forum.
I am a first time builder and chose the Highlander kit because it was the closest fit to my selection criteria. The Rans S-6 was the next best fit.
My criteria - LSA qualified, taildragger, folding wings, short field capable, useful load greater than 600lbs, reasonable cross-country performance, and a good looking airplane on the ramp.
I am just getting started on the build, no fabric on yet, but fuselage interior is 80 % complete. Nothing done on the wings yet, but I did get the kit with the wing ribs glued to the spars and the wings set to the fuselage at the factory (highly reccommended).
Plusses so far: beautiful work on the fuselage welding and powder coat and other factory built parts, other hardware seems adequate and well selected. The factory people are first rate, friendly, knowlegable, and easy to talk to, and this weighed heavily in my final decision making. No matter how good you are at building airplanes, the factory is going to bail you out at some point.
Minuses so far: A little dissapointed in the build manual (there are no drawings provided) as it was adapted from some predecessor airplane and hasn't been updated for the Highlander. Lots of pictures, but some of the illustrations are misleading.
Of course, the effectiveness of any technical manual (and I have written many of them in 30 years of aerospace work) is dependant on a certain level of competence on the part of the reader. I will admit to being challenged when building to this manual. It would probably provide sufficient guidance for a very experienced kit builder.
Having said that, the factory guys, Troy, Jamie, Gary, etc. are always there to answer questions and encourage calls because they realize the limitations of manuals.
Although I have yet to plunk down the money for one, I have selected the Rotax 912uls for my engine. I like the track record that the Rotax comes with and the hybrid cooling system just seems to make a lot of sense to me. I don't like geared engines, but its hard to argue with the durability that Rotax has demonstrated.
I have yet to fly a Highlander due to bizzare set of circumstances, but I have flown the Rans S-6 and liked the responsiveness (after flying numerous GA sleds for 40 years) and I expect the Highlander will be the same.
I guess it boils down to personal preferences, but I think the Highlander is just a damn handsome airplane with some impressive hauling capability and (I understand) a lot of fun to fly.
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Low and Slow - The only way to go!
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