Aircraft Review

May 2012 Issue

Pipistrel Virus SW: Not Just Another LSA

That’s mainly because it’s blisteringly fast on very little gas. But it takes some glider pilot skills to fly well.

Little white LSAs seem to flow from eastern Europe in such a steady trickle that we’ll admit to thinking that one is mostly like another. Indeed, a peek under the cowl reveals the same engine (a Rotax 912) that yields unsurprisingly similar performance. But one that’s a standout, at least in speed, in a undistinguished field is Pipistrel’s Virus SW. Pipistrel has gained some note for having run away with the NASA Green Flight Challenge three times with various iterations of its product line, including a purpose-made variant of its Taurus motorglider. All of the Pipistrel airplanes are unique for having evolved from gliders, so they have slender, exceptionally light fuselages, high aspect-ratio wing planforms and low drag.

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