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Piaggio P.149D / FWP.149

OMF-100-160 Symphony
Tecnam P2002-JF
N2501A Thorp Aero T-211 c/n 102 - Hoogeveen airfield in Holland - 28 August 2016 vliegveld Hoogeveen (EHHO)

The Thorp T-211 is a side-by-side two-seat low-wing all-metal monoplane with fixed tricycle undercarriage and a sliding canopy designed in the US by John W. Thorp in 1945. The design and development originally started in 1942, as a private venture two-seat light aircraft by John Thorp, a Lockheed engineer. In April 1944 the company agreed to build the aircraft as the Lockheed Model 33 Little Dipper. Two prototypes were built and the first flew in August 1944 and flew well. Due to a lack of interest the second prototype was not completed and both prototypes were scrapped for tax reasons in January 1947. Despite and thanks to the experience with the Little Dipper, John Thorp went on to develop the design what led to the Thorp T-11 Sky Skooter. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the airplane is the ribbed wing design. The ribbing is also found on the horizontal tail surface, which is an all-flying stabilator. The advantage of the ribbed aluminum wing and horizontal tail is that this construction saves a lot of interior riveting as far fewer internal ribs are used. The wing forms a sort of external structural rib greatly easing the assembly process. John Thorp’s name appears on the patent for the stabilator. With the first prototype of the T-11 (c/n 1) NX91301 with a fixed tricycle undercarriage and a 65 hp Lycoming engine flying on 15 August 1946. John Torp had ideas about selling the aircraft to the USAF for basic training. The second protototype (c/n 3) ) NX91312 with raised rear fuselage decking was completed in December 1946, in April 1947 followed by the third T-11 prototype (c/n 4) NX91313 similar to NX91312. On 22 December 1948 the T-11 powered by a 75 hp Lycoming O-145-B2 Horizontally-Opposed Engine received FAA Certification A-791. Partly due to general aviation slump, the aircraft was barely sold and despite a great deal of development work, Thorp was forced to shelve the T-11 project. However in 1964, the design was taken over Tubular Aircraft Products Company Inc., Los Angeles. In 1953, the T-11 prototype was already modified by Thorp to mount a 90 hp Continental engine and in this form it had been redesignated the Model T-111. Tubular Aircraft then further increased the power to 100 hp by fitting a Continental O-200 and their prototype T-211 resulted in a supplemental certificate being issued on 20 April 1964. Tubular Aircraft Products built 100 parts kits with Continental O-200 powerplants and 11 production models. Eight were built by Spring 1965. Once again however the aircraft failed to reach production and the T-211 project disappeard on the shelf again in 1966. On 21 July 1981, the rights to the aircraft were acquired by John Adams of Adams Industries Inc., Detroit. Aircraft Engineering Associates built a T-211 production prototype and demonstrator (c/n 010) N29754, commissioned by Adams, but only this pre-production machine was completed. On 18 August 1989, the rights of the aircraft went to Thorp Aero Inc., Wheelersburg, OH, and the latter firm built in Sturgis Kentucky, five examples as the Thorp Arrow or T-211 Aero Sport. On 20 February 1991, a supplemental certificate was issued for a modification with the Continental O-200 A engine. On 1 May 1996, the First Kentucky Bank in Sturgis, KY, became the owner of the aircraft certificate. On 10 September 1998, DM Aerospace Limited in WA was the next owner of the aircraft certificate, later renamed in AD Aerospace, Inc. and AD Holdings, Inc. At that period IndUS Aviation, Inc., Dallas, Texas, formed collaborations to manufacture the Thorp T-211 and its LSA variants. IndUS was able to create modifications of the venerable FAA Type Certified T-211 in the LSA category, as well as diesel powered variants for the USA. Indus Aviation began production of the T-211 to the guidelines of Light Sport Aircraft in the mid-2000s. The Thorp T-211 was the first US-designed Special Light Sport Aircraft to receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. The light-sport version uses the six-cylinder Jabiru 3300 engine, while the type certified version uses a Continental O-200 engine and is equipped for both VFR and IFR flying. The kits were then manufactured by AD Aerospace in the United Kingdom and Venture Light Aircraft in the United States. In 2010 the aircraft was also back in production as a kit aircraft by AD Aerospace of Manchester, United Kingdom.

Thorp T-211 s/n 102 was built by Thorp Aero Inc. in 1991. Air Worthiness Test of this experimental aircraft was done as N2501A on 15 February 1991. Today the aircraft is registered with Egmond Aircraft LLC, Lewis, Sussex in the USA and based in Belgium. On 28 August 2016, the Thorp T-211 Sky Skooter N2501A was seen at the static of Wings & Wheels 2016 at Hoogeveen airfield in the Netherlands.

page last updated: 14-01-2017
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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