Kitfox vs Highlander

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

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Kitfox vs Highlander

Postby ab2fly » Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:48 pm

Folks, I’m looking for some advice. I’m interested in either a Kitfox Super Sport or a Highlander. I like the Kitfox because it has a huge fleet of finished aircraft, which should help assure long-term support. It also appears to have a higher cruise speed and is very nimble. I get the impression it may also have a more polished build manual, but I’m not sure. I like the Highlander because it appears to be a little lighter, stalls slower, and I’m closer to the factory. I’m not sure whether having separate ailerons and flaps is better or worse than full span flaperons. I’m guessing that the Highlander might ride better in turbulence, which is important in the South during the summer.  Folding the Highlander’s wings appears to be simpler. The Kitfox is supposed to have an excellent glide ratio, but I’m guessing the Highlander does too. Do you have any input you would like to offer?  Are any of my impressions off base? Would you choose the Highlander again?
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Postby taildrgfun » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:45 pm

I think the Highlander is a better backcountry plane. It has a lot bigger baggage area. I would build another one.
Steve Henry, Wild West Aircraft
(the Dead Stick Take-off Guy)
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Kitfox vs Highlander

Postby ab2fly » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:38 am

Thanks, Steve. Your videos on Youtube are about the best advertisement that Just Aircraft could want. It is impossible to watch them without wanting to fly that plane, although admiring the machine does nothing to take away from my respect for the piloting skills. I haven't seen the Kitfox Super Sport or Highlander in person, but it looked to me like the Highlander had a better baggage compartment.
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Postby scubarider2 » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:37 am

I think when you put the two planes side-by-side you will not see too much of a difference.  The luggage area was a big draw for me wanting to put some folding bikes etc back there is wonderful.  The Highlander/Escapade is getting around 100-105mph cruise.  The Kitfox claims just alittle faster.  The guys at Just have gotten a better build manual in place and are still working on improvements.  You can't get a better bunch of folks to support you.  The Kitfox does have more planes flying with a "stronger" company base.  I would suggest that you go on over to the Just company and speak with Troy and get a tour.  
I do not regret building my Just Aircraft.  Also, if you compare pricing...you get so much more standard with the "Just".
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Postby Johnny C! » Wed Jul 08, 2009 12:51 pm

A friend has a Kit Fox at 0A7 which
I was able to look at. Where the Justs
have a huge baggage area with a
200 lb payload capacity, the Kit Fox
has a very complicated flapperon
mixing mechanism. I cannot not
see any reason how one could
justify such a cumbersome linkage
system over a simple cable/spring
return for the flaps and gain the
baggage room.

It's my understanding the Justs
are from the Kit Fox lineage,
but with obvious improvements.

Go to the factory where you can
look at some airframes & finished
aircraft.

Good Luck!

John
"Once man has tasted flight, he
will walk the earth with his eyes
turned skyward, for there he has
been & there he longs to return..."
L. DaVinci

Duane Sorenson & Rick Norton,
Gone West, 6/8/09.
Godspeed...
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Postby Av8r3400 » Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:32 pm

I would say the Just is more of the Avid Flyer lineage than Kitfox Lineage.  (Although they both come from the original Avid Flyer heritage)  The Just uses, basically, the Avid Flyer under-cambered airfoil which is where it gets it's very impressive short field/slow flight abilities.  The "higher speed" airfoil of the Kitfox has much less under-camber and gives up some of the slow speed abilities.

At cruise power (5200 rpm) setting my 912UL-80hp Kitfox Model IV will cruise at ~110-115 mph.  The Just with a 912ULS-100 hp may or may not do this, depending on the plane.  A good friend of mine has a Kitfox IV on amphibious floats that does ~120 mph on 80 hp with some really good fit and finish.  He can fly circles around the Rans and Justs.

It's all a matter of the application you want:  

Off-field short performance, more modern cabin/baggage layout = Just
Speed, efficiency (relatively speaking) and Better Kit Documentation or Polish = Kitfox


One man's opinion.
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Kitfox vs Highlander

Postby ab2fly » Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:51 pm

Thanks for all of the excellent feedback. I can assure you that it is useful. What I have learned from the conversation so far is that the Highlander has a better baggage compartment, a cleaner flap linkage (affecting baggage space), much better slow flight, and more included in the standard kit. The Kitfox has a 15% to 20% advantage in cruise speed and possibly quality of documentation, although the build manual for the Highlander has improved.

Has anyone flown both? Does the Highlander have the kind of quick aileron response that the Kitfox appears to have? How do they handle turbulence?

Just for the record, I intend to take the advice to visit the Just factory. I want to be as informed as possible when I go. I really appreciate all of the helpful input.
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Postby Johnny C! » Thu Jul 09, 2009 7:45 am

Av8r,
 Thanks for the experienced
clarification on my comments.
I have only flown in the Justs,
not Kitfox or Avids.

ab2,
 Good Luck.

John
"Once man has tasted flight, he
will walk the earth with his eyes
turned skyward, for there he has
been & there he longs to return..."
L. DaVinci

Duane Sorenson & Rick Norton,
Gone West, 6/8/09.
Godspeed...
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Postby Sir Real » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:33 am

As an extension of the "More luggage space" comment, I might add that the Highlander has a higher useful load and is just plain bigger inside, for more comfort. Important if you are an XXL kind of guy.
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Postby scubarider2 » Thu Jul 09, 2009 9:33 am

I have flown in a kitfox but not the new super sport so I am sure the comparison would not match.  I can tell you that the Highlander has a very quick response to controls compared to others I have flown.  She is very agile and when trimmed properly very stable.  I would not concern yourself with the build documentation.  You could probably build the entire plane just using this forum!  Of course you always have the option if you are within driving distance to actually build your plane at the JUST factory like Lynn did hers.  That way you have the experts right there with you.
Just my thoughts,
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Postby Johnny C! » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:37 pm

Dennis has a good point.

The fact that the factory is 1-1/4 hours
from home, was a significant factor in
my decision to buy the Just over the Zenair
which I was strongly considering. I can readily
drive down there to pick up a part, or put eyes
on another airframe to help solve a problem,
etc, if I need to. And that's been a huge help
for me in build process, so far (ready to paint).

John
"Once man has tasted flight, he
will walk the earth with his eyes
turned skyward, for there he has
been & there he longs to return..."
L. DaVinci

Duane Sorenson & Rick Norton,
Gone West, 6/8/09.
Godspeed...
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Postby Av8r3400 » Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:14 pm

Sir Real wrote:As an extension of the "More luggage space" comment, I might add that the Highlander has a higher useful load and is just plain bigger inside, for more comfort. Important if you are an XXL kind of guy.


Kitfox 5, 6, 7, and SS are available to a 1500 gross, no longer light sport of course.  Just stops with 1320 for light sport.

Cabin width on the later Kitfoxes are very comparable to Just.  

Seats in the Just Aircraft are adjustable, Kitfox is not.  Rudder peddles must be adjusted.
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Postby jak » Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:30 pm

My advice is go fly in both, I don't know how to get you a ride in a kitfox but come to the factory and let me know in advance and I will get you a ride in a highlander and you can fly it. I suggest you take the kitfox ride first because after you fly the highlander, you won't to go ride in anything else. The fit and finish on the highlander can be made to match the others but we choose to keep it simple(=less expensive).  Just my opinion  Jak
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Kitfox vs Highlander

Postby ab2fly » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:00 pm

Thank you for the continued responses. I probably don't qualify as an XXL kind of a guy, but I like the idea of being able to haul someone without worrying too much about whether or not the fit will work. Regardless, I'm sure I would enjoy of having plenty of room. I remember one of the things that surprised me most when I started to fly was how small most GA planes really are inside.

I'm glad to hear that the Highlander handles so well. Good handling plus a slow stall speed should translate into a pretty safe plane.

When I visit the factory, I will be sure to investigate the various builder assist options. In particular, it sounds like getting the wings fitted to the fuselage might be a good thing to do. I confess, though, that the idea of doing as much as possible myself is appealing.

I'm particularly glad to hear that the forum is so helpful. The response to my questions clearly proves that point.
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Postby Johnny C! » Fri Jul 10, 2009 12:46 pm

Definitely purchase the quick build
wing option, and the incident mating
is too critical not to let the factory do
that.

I paid for both. Money well spent.

John
"Once man has tasted flight, he
will walk the earth with his eyes
turned skyward, for there he has
been & there he longs to return..."
L. DaVinci

Duane Sorenson & Rick Norton,
Gone West, 6/8/09.
Godspeed...
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