Wichita, KS—June 1, 2009: Wichita, Kansas-based aviation enthusiast and entrepreneur James Wiebe and his wife, Kathy, have acquired the production rights to a previously designed aircraft, the Kitfox Lite, and formed a new business entity, Belite Aircraft, to market it. The airplane will incorporate stronger, lighter carbon fiber components that will allow it to easily meet Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 103 weight requirements.
The Wiebes, who previously developed and marketed digital forensic computer storage devices as the founders of Wichita-based enterprise, WiebeTech LLC, acquired the tooling, existing parts and manufacturing rights to the aircraft in March of 2009. As a condition of the transaction, they agreed to re-brand the airplane to prevent any confusion with the larger, two-place light sport Kitfox that shares many of the same design features but is owned by another company. Kitfox has recorded more than 4,500 kit sales since its introduction 25 years ago.
An instrument-rated pilot, James Wiebe has applied his creativity and experience to this new venture, developing a proprietary lightweight carbon fiber structure that he is incorporating into the modified airplane’s construction. By converting spars, ribs and struts from steel, wood or aluminum to carbon fiber, he has reduced the airplane’s empty weight to previously unattainable levels, well below the 254-pound limit specified in FAR Part 103 for this type of aircraft.
“This project, which combines my passions for flying and inventing, is exciting on several levels,” Wiebe noted. “From a business perspective, the development and application of our proprietary carbon fiber has lots of potential for other aircraft and in other markets. Its use in this aircraft provides the weight margin that will allow enthusiasts to build it and enjoy the fun of flying it safely and economically. Our proprietary carbon fiber process builds quickly, far faster than aluminum, wood or composite construction. We expect this aircraft to be a practical and popular choice among light sport aircraft,” he added.
Wiebe indicated that he plans to incorporate a number of additional modifications into the design that will further improve the airplane’s performance and versatility. He has reserved exhibit spaces 612 and 615 in the North Display area at the upcoming Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and expects to have an aircraft on display at the show. Additional announcements regarding availability and pricing are expected at that time.
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