NOTE: This review by Hardy has been published some while ago in German language and has now been translated to English by Ollie. The original German version of this review is available under the following link.
There’s more than just the Super Cub…
A small, light and agile 2-seater. A taildragger outfitted with big fat tundra tires. Who wouldn’t think of the legendary Piper PA-18 Super Cub? Far from it, though! Today we’re about to take a look at the Aeropro EuroFOX by VSKYLABS.
I do admit, comparing these two aircraft isn’t fair. After all, these are totally different aircraft with only some common features. That said, the EuroFOX is a fun plane to fly!
First things first, though. The EuroFOX is an ultralight 2-seater plane by Slovak manufacturer Aeropro who was found in 1990. Two versions of the EuroFOX made it on the market, one with a regular three-point-gear and one taildragger. Both versions are outfitted with two side-by-side arranged seats. Engine-wise buyers could choose between an 80hp Rotax 912UL or a 100hp Rotax 912ULS engine. The light EuroFOX has a maximum takeoff mass of just 1235lbs (560kg). The aircraft allows travel at a maximum speed of 109MPH (or 175km/h). Its service ceiling is at 14.760ft.
The VSKYLABS EuroFOX comes in three versions. Pilots may choose between a nose-wheel and a tail wheel version as well as a tundra tires outfitted taildragger variant for “off-road” landings.
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In my opinion the EuroFOX has a decent exterior model. It’s not overly detailed but there’s enough to discover even on second sight. Naturally this has also positive effects on the performance. I especially like the reflections (and the way they have been controlled by choosing realistic PBR settings). It all looks pretty darn good.
The EuroFOX is a strutted high wing airplane with a glazed cockpit roof so do expect some serious “convertible feeling”. The low entry adds to the panorama view. Of interest is also the flaps configuration. The EuroFOX features so-called Junkers double wings. Behind what looks like the main wing is another smaller wing which increases lift. These smaller wings can be lowered like flaps for landing whilst retaining the differential movement needed for lateral control.
The inside of the EuroFOX is basic. An air-speed indicator, altimeter, variometer, a turn-and-bank indicator, an obligatory artificial horizon and a magnetic compass mounted on the cross brace of the cockpit is all you’re gonna need to navigate.
Some more basic instruments provide information about the engine’s status. Finally there’s a Mode-C transponder, a radio and (a concession to our modern times) a Garmin 530 GNS. Don’t expect any more fancy glass cockpit IFR gear in this particular aircraft. But who needs this anyway. After all, this bird is made for flying on sight!
Flying the Fox
My first test flight with the EuroFOX will begin at the small German airfield Bad-Neuenahr-Ahrweiler (EDRA). After departure I’m gonna follow the river Ahr until I reach the much bigger Rhein river. I will then pass the residence of the former first chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Konrad Adenauer, until I reach the “Sieben” Mountains and finally highway A3. There I will turn the plane 180° to fly straight back all the way to my arrival airfield Bonn-Hangelar (EDKB). For this first flight I chose the EuroFOX taildragger variant with tundra tires.
Let’s jump right into the cockpit and start the engine. The battery, avionics and lighting is controlled with the switch panel on the right hand side of the panel. On the left hand side you will find additional switches for the fuel pump, the magnetos and the starter. Parking brake, throttle lever and the carburetor and starter controls are located between these switch panels in the center of the panel. You won’t find a mixture lever in this particular aircraft.
OK so I turn the battery and position lights on, put both magneto switches to on, as well as the fuel pump switch. Fuel pressure is now rising so I turn the ignition key. The engine needs a little throttle and boom, the engine starts willingly. The sound of the engine is rich but do note there doesn’t seem to be a separate sound for the engine start, which is a bit unfortunate in my opinion.
Since the engine needs some time to warm up I am using this time to program my chosen route into the Garmin 530… just in case! I don’t expect to get lost in this area since I was raised there but you never know. Eventually the engine reaches the desired temperature so I slowly increase rotary speed until we reach 2200 RPM: Magneto check! I turn the landing lights on, loosen the parking brakes and off we go to the runway. As expected, taxiing in a taildragger is a unique experience, in the sim and in real world flight. It’s just hard to see the taxiway. As I taxi around the airfield I keep the flight stick constantly pulled back to increase pressure on the tail wheel. Taxiing itself is pretty straight forwarded though thanks to the tail wheel control which is bound to the rudder. I reach my runway eventually and I find myself ready for my first departure with the EuroFOX. Since the runway is long enough I try a no-flaps departure. I push the throttle lever slowly and so does EuroFOX start to roll. Subtle use of the rudder keeps her on the runway. At approximately 30MPH the tail comes up which greatly helps to actually see where I am going. At about 50MPH the plane slowly lifts off. 1000fpm is all that is needed to bring this bird up in the sky.
As I set course to the river Rhein, it is time to take a closer look at the cockpit.
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As with the exterior model the 3D modeling of the inside is remarkable and the reflective surfaces add a lot to the atmosphere. It’s certainly easy to get the feeling of actually being inside an aircraft in this particular product. This is also thanks to some great detail, such as the weary display of the Garmin GNS.
During second test flight I found another neat additional feature. There’s a click spot on the outer ring of the air-speed indicator. By clicking on it you can change the unit from MPH to km/h and vice versa. To me this is a welcome detail. I am accustomed to knots and km/h but as a continental European MPH just don’t work with me.
Stalling the Fox
I enjoy the impressive view out of the huge cockpit windows as I gain height before I start my obligatory stall test.
We’re now above the river Rhein. Slowly but steadily do I pull the flight stick a bit backwards. At the same time I slowly decrease the throttle. The plane slows down and eventually tips sidewards to the right. For a short moment I thought the plane might spin. Luckily this doesn’t happen. Once the EuroFOX gains some speed I have full control again.
In the meantime I finished my turns over the Sieben Mountains and so I set course to my destination, towards the sunset.
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But anyway, let’s get this bird home. The airfield Bonn-Hangelar (EDKB) ist one of the oldest airfields in Germany. Already back in 1909 aviation enthusiasts earned their wings with gliders. The approach to runway 11 is pretty straight forward. After the EuroFOX is set to approach course I slowly decrease the throttle to slow her down. To my surprise the EuroFOX seems to have good gliding abilities. About 1 NM before I reach the airfield I set flaps and slowly glide to the ground with no throttle at all. As I increase the flaps setting the drag increases too much though so I do need a little throttle to get this plane down safely. One three-point-landing later I am back to the ground.
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The EuroFOX might not be a substitute for the Super Cub. Nevetheless this small airplane is a lot of fun to fly. Comparing these two aircraft isn’t fair anyway as stated already above. That said, in my personal opinion the VSKYLABS EuroFOX earned herself a spot in my virtual hangar.
For just $17.00 this great add-on is a bargain. The VSKYLABS EuroFOX is definitely worth every penny, which makes this product a no-brainer. I certainly didn’t regret the purchase.
The VSKYLABS Aeropro EuroFOX is available from the x-plane.org store here.