The Zing Aerosports ZR-70 and ZR-80 Racers built over the last 18 months now have a combined total of over 150 hours of flight time. We have received very good feedback from the Pilots who own them and who have taken us up on our invitation to “Test Drive” them. So far we have built 3 ZR-70 and 1 ZR-80.
Setting our goal this year on developing the ZR-60 we learned that the 70,000 cubic ft envelope size is getting a ton of attention. So instead we decided to make a few “Creature Comfort” changes to the ZR-70. Creature comforts we had already designed into the ZR-80. Simply we slightly increased the mouth diameter, slightly widened the equator and reconfigured the opening of the rotation vents. That’s all. The Pilot feedback on all of our existing features was extremely positive.
Making these changes meant we had to build another ZR-70. It so happened we had a lot of Black and Yellow so we decided to keep with my existing “Bee” signature and designed “Jackie”. Jackie for Yellow Jacket obviously. After a few jokes and some whispering discussions’ we changed the name to F-18. After all the F-18 Hornet is a fast challenging fighter jet so why not go in that direction.
We didn’t really tell anyone what was going on so many people thought we were building a new Baby Bee. It’s only natural for people to think that. Not being ready for in depth discussion about our changes, we let it ride. FB is a wonderful outlet for promotion and discussion.
The Experimental Airworthiness Policy within the FAA changed a little in January 2015 so it took a little longer to get our Airworthiness Certificate. About 8 weeks actually. But in the end it’s all for the better. Going through the AW application process is a great learning experience. We revised our “Program” and our Flight and Maintenance manual. We also now have to do only 2 hours of Phase 1 testing before moving on to Phase 2 flight. It hade been 10 hours prior to F-18. If you’re not familiar with the Phase testing of Experimental, simply it’s a 2 part flight program that makes the builder test each balloon before sending it out into the world.
We are happy to say that the F-18 will be flying at the FAI World Air Games in Dubai with Joe Zvada at the helm. Joe has been very instrumental in Pilot feedback regarding our ZR-70 and we are very proud to have him flying our balloon. The 2015 US National Hot Air Balloon Championships had all 3 of our ZR-70’s flying. Again something we are very proud of.
Zing is here to stay. 2016 will be our entry into the Type Certificate application process. Yahoo that should be fun. 2016 will also be the year we will introduce our Burner to the world. Stay tuned!
Safe flights to all of you
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!