Image: Skycraft Scout
Source: Museum Victoria
First flown in May 1974, the Skycraft Scout, was the one of the first ultralights, also known as minimum aircraft. It was designed by Ron Wheeler in NSW. Commercial production of the Scout by Skycraft P/L began in 1976 following certification by the Department of Transport (the first such certification in the world). In keeping with the design concept for an affordable minimum aircraft, the airframe consists of an aluminium alloy tube with wing spars attached. The 12 horsepower, 153 c.c Pixie engine is mounted to the front of the fuselage tube with chain transmission to a wooden propeller. This engine is a modified Victa two-stroke motor mower unit. The fixed wings are of Dacron sail-cloth but have no ailerons or warping. The only flight controls are the rudder and all-moving tailplane which are operated by the control column as there are no rudder pedals. An A-frame suspended under the wings supports the pilot's seat and main landing wheels. The wings can be removed and the whole aircraft can easily be towed on a standard car trailer or placed on a roof-rack. Ultralight flying is now a popular leisure activity and the Scout is a pioneering Australian design in this field. The Scout is also of interest in that it uses marine fittings and materials, influenced by Ron Wheeler's background in boat-building. The Scout could also be flown as a glider with the engine shut-down and a Sea Scout floatplane version was available.