Israeli Company to Market 2-seater, Build-it-yourself Civilian Airplane

An Israeli company is preparing to market a two-seater civilian aircraft, the Gambit, which weighs less than 800 pounds, sells for under $25,000 and can be assembled in a backyard.

The revolutionary design was developed by aeronautical engineers and former Israel Air Force pilots and personnel. Prototypes were built and are being flight-tested by the Scicraft division of the Cyclone Aviation Co. at its plant in Carmiel. The Gambit is expected to go into production in mid-1988 and will be sold initially in kit form.

Baruch Levanon, managing director of Scicraft, said the weight of 770 pounds, including engine, was attained by the use of ultra-light materials such as kevlar, graphite and glass fibers. He said the plane is intended to compete with current light civilian aircraft.

According to the designers, the Gambit can be assembled by one person in about 400 hours, using basic tools available at any hardware store. Only three sizes of screws are required.

It will be offered in two models — the 600, with a 64-horsepower engine which will sell for $19,950; and the 900, with a 90-horsepower engine, for $24,750. The plane resembles a plastic bubble with a pointed nose, upswept wings and an engine behind the pilot’s seat.

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