A few photos are up on the photo section that I’d love to know more about but there are no comments. There’s one of the orig Cirrus’ half submerged in a lake. The other is a Piper Aerostar with jets hanging off. Is this a photoshop job or is this a real experiment? I couldn’t find anything on it and the reg. itself shows it as a recip.
When I was but a wee lad, well ok a teenager, I would ride my bicycle to the Oceano airport (L52). This was in the days when the Aerostar was being built down the road in Santa Maria, long before Piper bought them. The test pilots would sometimes make a high speed pass during their production test flights and once a month or so land and come in for a coffee. That was an airplane I always wanted to fly. I finally did get about 40 or 50 hours in a 601 years later.
Towards the end of the production I remember seeing an airplane in the hangar with some sort of ring spar where the engine should have been that didn’t look quite right. I was told they were working on a jet. I seem to remember it looking like the engine would mount on top of the wing but it was across the hangar and they wouldn’t let us near it so that may or may not have been the case.
John in Saudi
I haven’t had the chance to fly one. There is a real nice one here at SPI with a grey maroon and black paint scheme. My early memories of the Aerostar were at our local air show back in the mid 1980s. The first time I saw Jim Franklin he was doing an act geared towards kids in which he was named Zar. His Aerostar was all black and he was supposed to be from some other planet. He would take off and do an aerobatic routine, and then, ala Bob Hoover, shut em down and fly dead stick. Then after he landed he got out in this all black suit and cape and meet and greet the kids. Later in the day he’d do a routine in his Waco.
I’ve always thought the Aerostar was a neat airframe. as a kid I thought Mooney designed it because of the trailing edge taper on the wing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the old jet designs, sounds like it might have had the Hondajet style pylons?
In the early 80s there was a prime NASCAR driver with a Machen Bros. modified “Super Star”. He held a personel copy of Ted Smiths design book for a jet powered AeroStar and was seeking wing mounted propulsion ideas. Engine weight /balance vs. big Lycomings didn’t seem to be an issue but fuel volume / storage was. Range for NASCAR ops. of 650 mi. max. at the time was not a issue. Most small turbo jet engines of that time had too much thrust. Used P&W JT15D-1s from old Citations were investigated. Williams also received inquires into the idea as it was probably the best fit at that time.