|The FireFly is a significant breakthrough in
ultralight aircraft. Easy-to-build and designed to be a legal ultralight
under FAR Part 103. We have observed that most
legal ultralight aircraft suffer from a lack of performance.
We at Kolb Aircraft think flying an ultralight aircraft
should be safe, fun, and affordable. Pilots should not have to
give up performance when flying an ultralight so we have
designed the FireFly to be a "real" aircraft with a
level of performance that can fly rings around other
ultralight aircraft. After all, who wants to drift around like
a kite when you can be buzzing through the sky like a
fighter? The FireFly also offers the mainstay features
all Kolb aircraft are known for: quick-folding wings,
enclosable cockpit, welded chrome-moly steel fuselage cage
and, of course, outstanding performance. Kolb offers
more safety, fun and performance in 254 pounds than any other
Pictured above is 2004 EAA Sun-N-Fun
Construction Kit FireFly owner Robin Bassett.
The performance of the FireFly is absolutely awesome. You
need to see a FireFly in the air to truly appreciate what it
can do. Seeing how 40 horsepower pushes this 254 pound
aircraft is eye-opening.
The welded chrome-moly steel fuselage cage provides the
solid feel of the "real" airplane. For
strength and durability in airframe structures, aluminum and
steel are superior. The heart of the FireFly, the
fuselage cage, is made from strong, factory welded 4130
chrome-moly steel. We also use 4130 steel in all high stress
areas. Compare a FireFly wing with the typical sailcloth
wing of other ultralight's and you will see the
difference. FireFly wings have rigid truss ribs and a
massive 5" aircraft aluminum wing spar. Covered
with Stits aircraft covering, there is no comparison!
The FireFly has conventional 3-axis, cable, and push-pull
tube controls. It is very responsive and light on the
controls, yet is not twitchy or sensitive. The FireFly
also has gentle stall characteristics. Upon entering a stall
from straight and level flight, there is some sink which
precedes the stall. Continuing into the stall, there
will be a gentle break at about 30 mph and the nose will
drop. The aircraft gains speed and resumes flying with a
reduction of stick back pressure.
Kolb aircraft are easy to fly and have gentle flight
characteristics, they are also high performance aircraft. We
recommend training or some transition training before
attempting flight in our aircraft.
|Flaperons are standard equipment and decrease the stall
speed by 4-5 mph, but more importantly, allow for very steep
descents without building up excessive airspeed. This is
exactly what is needed to drop into a short field or for an
Pictured above is Stanley Chitwood's
his home in Somerset Ky.
Optional brakes provide for sure stops and the optional
individual heel pedals allow a tighter turning radius.
The flaperons and optional brakes allow the FireFly to be
landed, stopped and maneuvered in very tight areas.
The fact is, better visibility makes for more enjoyable
flying. The pusher configuration of the FireFly provides
the vastly superior visibility that Kolb aircraft have become
known for. There is 360 degree visibility from the cabin
and an optional full canopy enclosure allows comfortable
flying in cooler weather. The rear engine eliminates
exhaust fumes and reduces noise levels.
Pictured above is Steve Zigan's FireFly
demonstrating the folding wings.
FOLDING WINGS & TAIL
Like all Kolb aircraft, the FireFly has folding wings and
tail which allow for easy storage or trailering. The
tail folds up and the wings fold back along the fuselage in
about 15 minutes by one person. Everything stores right
on the airframe.
Even Quicker Folding: The horizontal
stabilizers/elevators fold upward and the wings fold rearward staying attached at the universal joint. The FireFly
has one more time savings feature... there is no need to disconnect the lift strut from the wings.
They need only be disconnected
from the fuselage cage. The lift strut assembly then folds forward and lies flat with the
bottom of the wing. This saves disconnecting two clevis pins and also saves the effort to
secure the lift struts when trailering. Many of our customers fold and unfold their
airplanes routinely every time they fly -- year after year. This allows for money
saving compact storage at the airport or at home.
||Here is a short three minute
video showing the arriving, unfolding, flying, and
folding of a Kolb Firefly. Compliments of George
Alexander. Click on the icon on
the left to access a YouTube video.
The builder must exercise care to keep the FireFly as
light as possible as it is being built. The FireFly was
designed to weigh less than 254 lbs. with a 40 hp engine,
standard windshield, minimal paint and basic
instruments. The FAA, in accordance with FAR 103.7 allows 24
lbs. over the 254 lb. limit for a parachute. The BRS
soft-pack weighs 16.5 lbs.; therefore, you have an additional
7.5 lbs. available which will cover the weight of brakes and
full enclosure. Individual FAA inspectors may allow the
full 24 lbs. or only the actual weight of the parachute.
Both situations are possible under the present
regulations. The bottom line is that you have the option
to point out that the full 24 lbs. "may" be allowed
under the existing regulations. This may sound
complicated, but we want you to be aware of the choices you
have. If anything is unclear to you, please call us.