AMS/Pipistrel Apis/Bee 15M
|Average Price||€48000 3|
Average Flown Distance
(source: OLC 2016)
Our editors' review up to date on Dec 28 2016
The 15 meter glider has a larger 87 cm average chord giving a high wing area, the empty weight is a surprisingly low and these combine to make the glider more towards a “floater” class than a racer so it’s Vne is 220 Km/h. This also makes the glider easy to fly. The handling is very balanced and predictable making this a good first glider. The low stall speed and the larger wing chord help to make this glider more spin resistant than other sailplanes. A straight ahead stall is announced clearly, ahead of stall break, by a loud buffet of the airframe. An incipient spin can be halted immediately by just pushing the stick forward a bit. Cruising at speed with the flaperons in the +1 or +2 positions the glider appears to glide well as indicated by a minimal change in the nose position on the horizon.
The engine is a Rotax 447cc 2 cyl. 2 stroke. It is mounted on a pylon that is extended by an electric jack screw. The start sequence is very straightforward as follows: panel engine switch on, extract engine with UP switch, while engine is coming up turn on fuel valve and flip ignition switch on, set throttle slightly open, push primer plunger a few times and push the starter switch. The engine is quite reliable and usually starts easily. The savings and independence of owning a self-launching glider cannot be ignored. If you are able to fly during the week when most operations and clubs are closed you will be able to fly on the best days, gaining much valuable soaring experience. Your number of flights and useage of your glider will be much more than it would be if you were limited to the availability of a tow plane. The $50 to $60 average tow price these days allows you to save over $5000 per 100 flights. My average cost per launch is about $1.25 as I find that I can often shut down at 1800 feet in a good thermal. Engine vibration is a problem with all IC engines. The best plan is to drop the RPMs down from maximum as soon as the vario shows thermal lift. Make a circle and keep dropping RPMs if the thermal is still lifting you. Bring it to idle as you become sure of the thermal’s reliability and then shut down, wait 40 seconds for cooling and close it up.
The only problem I have experienced with the hardware is a limit switch that was epoxied (without screws) in the pylon that vibrated off and had to be replaced. Screws were added to hold it on. So far it has taken me on flights of up to 175 miles and I have longer flights planned as I gain more experience at XC.
Overall this glider is rugged, fun to fly and will live up to your expectations.
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|Wing Area||12.26 m²|
|Empty Weight||215 Kg|
|Gross Weight||322.5 Kg|
|Min Sink||0.54 m/s|
|Stall speed||63 Km/h|