Direct Fly Alto TG

Willie Bodenstein's picture

Richard Stubbs’ new import, the Direct Fly Alto TG

Richard Stubbs has introduced several aircraft to the South African market and his latest import in partnership with the Czech manufacturer Direct Fly s.r.o. is the ALTO TG. Launched at this year’s MISASA’s Kitty Hawk Aviation Showcase, the all-metal low-wing ALTO TG offers arguably the ‘greatest value over performance’ at this point in time.

The first ALTO TG arrived in what the overseas factory lists as its 100% kit and was prepared for flight by award-winning Krugersdorp based AMO Kevin Hopper and his team at Skyworx Aviation. The 100% ALTO TG kit only needed the engine and propeller installation, instrumentation choices and upholstery fitting and, with the first ALTO TG off to a flying start, Richard and Kevin are both very confident now that the 100% kit order could be completed to a flying aircraft in less than six weeks.
Richard has already initiated the SACAA ‘type approval’ certification process for factory built ‘ready to fly’ ALTOs and, even with fluctuating exchange rates and the unavoidable shipping costs, he remains very confident that the ALTO TG is particularly good value if a ‘like for like’ comparison is done against anything offering similar performance, comfort, range or build quality. Designed for the increasingly popular LSA 600kg MTOW class, the ALTO’s construction is that of a conventional all-metal low-wing monoplane with various composite elements, namely those of the top and bottom engine cowls, main landing gear, wheel spats and spinner. This extremely light, but durable construction method has enabled the ALTO TG to provide class leading useable weight considerations - even with full tanks and additional baggage. Impressive performance and totally predictable handling qualities are ideally suited to both the recreational pilot and instructor training environment and for additional safety an optional factory fitted ballistic parachute is available, this having been tested to verify that it actually works!
Normally equipped with the universally respected 2000 hour TBO Rotax ULS 100hp motor matched to a FITI 3-blade composite ground adjustable propeller, only the customer’s budget really limits what specific installed options are possible for the ALTO TG in terms of delivered specification. Performance options like in-flight adjustable propellers, sophisticated EIFIS and/or EMS management systems and 2 or 3 axis auto pilot systems can all be considered.

The first ALTO TG (ZU-IEA) lifted off from the Jack Taylor Airfield recently, with test pilot Dale de Klerk at the controls. Dale, who has logged 4300 hours flying time, is type rated on 70 aircraft and besides being a test plot holds tug, aerobatic, formation and airshow display ratings. Dale, who is also a qualified Grade B instructor, won the 2003 World Rally Championships together with Nigel Hopkins. Either way, Richard was assured of an unbiased and credible opinion from an exceptional pilot who really knows his stuff.

When asked to objectively comment on the ALTO TG, Dale’s unedited and frank opinion read as follows:
First impression: The Alto is a very conventional, sturdy, all metal aircraft. Build quality and finish are exceptional.
Pre-flight: Because of the simplicity of the aircraft, the pre-flight inspection is similar to most low wing conventional aircraft. Everything is easy to see and easy to reach.
Getting in: Typical of a low wing aircraft, one needs to get onto the wing and lower oneself into the cockpit. No major issues, but one needs to stand on the seat and not support one’s weight on the canopy which slides forward.

In the cockpit: There is ample room and it is very comfortable. I weigh 100kg and am 186 cm tall. Two people my size would be accommodated with ease.
Controls and layout: Everything is perfectly placed and easy to reach. A simple, yet effective instrument layout with a very modern look.

Start-up and taxi: It is a typical Rotax procedure for the start-up and warm up. All controls are well defined and neatly demarcated. The taxi is conventional nose wheel steering with a hand operated brake.

Take-off: Select 10 degree flaps and hold slight back pressure on the stick. She is very easily kept on the centre-line and lifts off within about 250 metres. Let the speed build to 60 knots and she climbs away effortlessly.

In flight: She is really an easy aircraft to fly. Control harmony is perfectly balanced. Stall is a non-event in all flap configurations. There is a slight buffet just prior to the stall and then the nose drops just enough to un-stall the wing. If you hold the stick back, she will mush without dropping a wing.

Landing: Approach is at 55 to 60 knots in any flap configuration. Do not let the speed bleed off until you are virtually on the touchdown. Hold off until the main wheels touch. As in most LSA aircraft, managing the speed and energy is important, but she is really a pleasure to fly.
All in all, a really well balanced aircraft with good handling. Perfect for a low time pilot.