|Wing Load (kg/m2)||31.5|
|Power load (kg/hp)||7.0|
After the WW-II Soviet Union advanced in many aviation fields, but light and ultra-light aviation was in deep stall. There were no official status for private pilot at all, and few homebuilts (sometimes very successful) were one-of-a-kind. They flew under 'cover' of airclubs, if it was possible to obtain certification and flight permit on non-standard equipment or on own risk of creators. Not only enthusiasts and sportsmen suffered. Light aircraft is a desired item in inventory of farmers, geologists, police, firefighters, who can not afford to pay for use of large machines.
With conversion of Soviet Military Industry leap forward became possible, since high technologies, 'occupied' previously by military, became available for manufacturing of civil products. This technology pool allowed KB MAI to start radically new project without linking it to any 'prototype'. Despite there were a lot examples in World practice to follow. New aircraft had to combine simple construction, low cost, mobility and economy of 'ultralight' with reliability, safety and practicality of light machines. And 'classic' Russian demand to the general purpose aircraft: grass-field operation and capability to withstand elements during outdoor storing. Operation safety and handling were design top goals.
All those demands resulted in rejection of wood and conventional fabrics. Even modern materials used on paraplanes and motodeltaplanes were rejected because in long term they are affected by ultraviolet radiation and humidity. For rough field operation special nose wheel strut and strong titanium springs for main wheels. Many other technologies and materials, as well as assembly area, are shared with MiG-29 aircraft.
Choice of pusher biplane layout allows to locate engine at the aircraft center of gravity. So, MAI-89 may be easily customized for a variety of powerplants. Access to all vital system is practically unrestricted, what makes pre-flight inspection, routine service and repairs very simple. Vital components and controls are duplicated or designed with extra strength resource. Of course all this supplies extra weight, but this one is compensated by general high weight culture of design, where each detail carries several function and serves as a part of strength structure. As a result, MAI-89 looks like a 'off-road' racer car. Aircraft is equipped for day light operation, allows parachute use.
Despite ultralight appearance, MAI-89 is capable to carry 120kg of cargo or corresponding amount of equipment. While basic design has semi-open cockpit, the export variant has doors on both sides. In addition to standard side-by-side 2-seater trainer version, aircraft may be easily 'customized' into monoplane glider or even autogiro. Floats or skis may be installed instead of wheels. All variants have 80% of common parts, what make MAI-89 very attractive for aeroclubs.
International 'tour of fame' for MAI-89 started in August 1990, when M.Gromov beat fresh (1988) World record (climb to 3000m) by 30%. Since than MAI-89 (named in series Aviatika-890 after joint stock company 'Aviatika' which established production at MAPO named after P.V.Dementiev) perform regularly all over the Globe and are sold to many countries. More than 500 are sold. Major domestic problem of MAI-89 is that 'Rotax' engines are too expensive for most domestic clubs.
Aviatika-890 family is very popular in Southern Africa, where it is used not only with private owners, but is increasingly by farmers, and by conservation and Government agencies throughout Southern Africa, for applications ranging from game counting and anti-poaching inspection, to crop dusting (visit here).
Domestic nickname is 'Metla' ('Broom') for broomstick-like tailboom.
|Created August 9, 1999||Back to|