The Lightning kit is considered a quick build kit in industry terms with the highest completion rate of any similar performance experimental aircraft kit. Some other kits are taking their builders in excess of yen years to build. Yes, the Lightning is truly a quick build kit that meets the 51% rule for Experimental Amateur Built (EAB) aircraft. It should take an average builder with some mechanical skills about 500 hours to complete the basic structure of the Lightning. A two car garage is best, however it has been done successfully in a single car garage. A comprehensive build manual, with good photos and simple CAD drawings, is on-line to help you through the process. The manual is online in the support section of the website. There is also a Lightning chat group which you can join and get ample amounts of building tips and suggestions. You can always call us here at Arion Aircraft, LLC, or any of our dealers to get the help you need in building the Lightning kit.
For both the XS and Classic “Go-fast” kits, we offer a speed fairing kit. This will increase cruise speed about 10knts, and decrease fuel burn. They are tedious parts to fit and install, but well worth your efforts in performance and looks. If you decide to build your kit to meet the LSA requirements, you will need to slow the stall speed down. We offer a wing tip extension with winglet to do so. This will add roughly 12sqft of wing area, and bring the span up to 30’ 6” from 27’ 2”. Even if you are not building an LSA compliant kit with a Jabiru 3300, this will help climb rates, takeoff distance, and, if installed on a “Go-fast” Lightning, increase the cruise speed about 8knts above 10,000ft. Wing tip extensions are not available on the 160hp XS. Other items which are optional include: landing light pockets for the wings, boarding steps, aluminum spinner, and a few others.
You will have to get an engine. A prop that is suited to the plane you are building must be purchased. We have tested a lot of props, and we can suggest a prop for the Lightning you are building. The kit does not come with any avionics. Since this is one area that many builders like to add their own touches to, we do not supply any. Also with that in mind, we do not supply an interior. There is a local shop here in Shelbyville that does our interiors, and we can supply a custom kit to meet your needs. There is no paint, but you will have a gel-coat surface, free of pinholes to start body prep on. Because you are building a fiberglass aircraft and will need extra epoxy and resin from time to time, or fiberglass cloth, we do not supply it. Arion Aircraft, LLC does not have the correct chemicals approval to ship these items, so the cost is eliminated from the kit, and you will need to purchase your own from Aircraft Spruce.
The Lightning EAB was designed to be an easy to build and economical to operate kit aircraft. The components used and techniques employed to build the kit do not require any special knowledge, tools, or building space. The kit is very complete and leaves little searching of suppliers for parts. All hardware is AN, the painted pre-welded components are 4130 steel, and all machined aluminum parts are of the T6 grade. Other airframe parts include: aircraft wheels and brakes from Matco, control cables from McFarlane Aviation supply, and a canopy formed by one of the Leading companies in the industry. This is all put together in a kit, along with a comprehensive build manual that will take the guess work out of finding components to complete your Lighting, and get you in the air quicker.
All main fiberglass assemblies are pre-formed and fabricated. This includes: Fuselage halves bonded together with bulkheads installed, wings closed with fuel tanks installed, all flight controls pre-molded and closed, cowls, spinner, canopy frames, cockpit seats, and baggage floors. Welded structures, such as: motor mount, spar box assembly, gear leg sockets, and various brackets, are epoxy painted and ready to install. The landing gear is machined from 7075T6 aluminum and ready to fit. Other components are machined from 6061T6 and are ready construction. Also supplied in the kit is raw stock 6061T6 aluminum for fabrication of longerons, pedals supports, bell-crank mounts, and other various brackets. Some fiberglass tape is also supplied for different tasks. There are a variety of components that are sourced from other aviation industry manufacturers. The Wheels and Brakes come from Matco Mfg (these are the 5” size and use standard 500-5 tires). The Canopy and quarter windows are supplied by Aircraft Windshields Inc. All hardware is drop shipped from Aircraft Spruce.