News from SilverLight Aviation

Abid

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Messages
6,274
Location
Tampa, FL
Aircraft
AR-1
Total Flight Time
4000+ 560 gyroplanes. Sport CFI Gyro and Trikes. Pilot Airplane
SilverLight Aviation is now back in 100% control of me (Abid) as I bought the company completely back from the Taiwanese investors.
I will be introducing a new quickbuild kit airplane called Recon at Sun N Fun under the company. It is a take on Avid Flyer/KitFox with folding wings. It can be had in taildragger as well as tricycle gear versions. Engine options are Rotax 912ULS, 914, 915 and 916 engines for now but it is possible to also do some Lycomings on the airframe. Planning to offer it with Shockmonster suspension options as well.
For AR-1, we are thinking of future to be open cockpit only and for enclosed cockpit develop the side by side model. Current batch of AR-1C will remain supported going forward.
 
Great news! A New Year and new horizons.
 
I wish you nothing but the best Abid.
 
Congratulations Abid, wishing you a bright future 😎
 
Now, that's a happy new year...:D
Cheers
Erik
 
Now, that's a happy new year...:D
Cheers
Erik

Thanks except it literally started with my mom passing and me catching a bad cold.
Buying out the investors was in the cards for the whole last year. They had very little interest in US civil market and betted on Taiwan government licensing the design and support contract but that also takes longer because of Covid so it was easier for me.
I have to focus on getting bigger share of our market and broadening our offerings. In aviation I see a lot of dreamers who have no clue come in thinking it’s like many other businesses. It’s not and it is.
 
Sorry to hear about your loss of your mom Abid.

But congrats on reaquiring full ownership of your company. I look forward to seeing the directions you will take Silverlight Aviation with the increased independence.
 
Hope whatever is happening results in more gyros being built. I have been told there hasn't been any new gyros built and sold in over a year
 
Hope whatever is happening results in more gyros being built. I have been told there hasn't been any new gyros built and sold in over a year
That’s not true. I was just in Taiwan with a couple of gyroplanes in September. Got to stop listening to people like that. Sales are lower in the US for new gyroplanes for us. Yes. But I am going to change that back and we sold a couple of trikes and sold machines outside US as well in 23. In 24 we also start with airplanes.
Edit: I do have to say that we have to institute a strict policy of customers who place an order, sign a contract that defines the edges of the conditions permissible and then come back midway when we are halfway done (like have a kit unpainted ready) and then it's time to buy engine and avionics and try and cancel the order. We had 3 of those in 2023. That's around $300k overall revenue. That plays havoc with a small business cashflow, work order processing and space and it cannot be allowed to happen. Unless you get terminal cancer after placing the order, I am going to pretty much stick with you cannot cancel or you can lose your resources. We have taken the stance that we will sell your partial kit in 2023 but that also cuts into our bottom line practically and I will stop that practice as well unless they are willing to lose 15% of the paid amount. We are running a business, not a charity.
In the US market there were total of 65 new gyroplane registrations in 2023 but 782 new Light Sport eligible airplane registrations. Gyroplanes I do not see a huge growth in the US market (55 to 70 is going to be about it) because of accidents and thus insurance which I will admit after being in the middle of it are most definitely not machine's fault for the most part. They are a fault of a lack of instructors, examiners, age of the population coming in and signing people off when they most likely should fail the checkride. There are very few instances where machine truly has been suspected. But it is what it is and that is what I have learned in the past years I have been in gyroplanes.
 
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Abid, sorry for your loss. I thought only of your financial freedom...
 
Glad you're back in control. Still love my AR1, and based on your design skills, I'm looking forward to seeing the airplane.
 
Abid

“Sales are lower in the US for new gyroplanes” and you want to “change that back”

You list the reasons for low sales as:
  • Accidents
  • Insurance
  • Lack of instructors
  • Lack of examiners
  • Age of population
  • Signing off too early
For the US I’m sure you’re right, for other countries most but not all would be applicable. However, I don’t think that you, or anybody, can change dramatically 3,4,5 & 6.

The only things left that you, Abid, can try to change are “accidents & insurance”.

The insurance problem is almost certainly due to the accident rate and we’ve discussed endlessly here the causes of the high accident rate, the major causes given are:
  • Poor instruction but:
  • a) There are recognized “good” instructors who have students go off and crash so the competence of most instructors is not in question, or they are all bad.
  • b) It’s often said that the “modern training method” is bad, the old style, ”balancing on the mains” and glider training etc was better. If that were true it means that there were no (or less) accidents in the old days before the arrival of the "new" training procedures, which I doubt.

  • Poor design but, even if true there’s nothing you can do to change the design of the other manufacturers and they, like you, are very reluctant to change for reasons varying from ego to cost and documentation.
So, I repeat (for the Nth time), the main cause of gyro accidents is that the pilots are human and humans make mistakes. Even the best trained and most qualified pilots in the world make mistakes. The Tenerife accident that killed 583 people was due to a mistake by the most experienced KLM pilot in the company, an instructor’s instructor and examiner.

I’m convinced that the only thing that has a chance of reducing the accident rate and perhaps eventually reducing insurance is to be able to warn the pilot before he screws up completely.

Airlines have systems that warn the pilot “Pull up, Pull up, ……” “Terrain, terrain, terrain…..”. They also have a black box flight recorder so that when there is an accident, there is more information available to try to understand what happened and learn.

You have had a prototype GWS in your training AR1 that does just that for nearly 2 years and a production version on the shelf for a year now but you have never installed one in one of your gyros.

Hopefully now you are back in full control we'll see a push to promote accident reduction via the GWS.

Mike G
 
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