((L-R) Ken Wolf and Lin Hough, who flew from Redmond to Jacksonville, Florida nonstop in 8 hours and 23 minutes. The 2,100 nautical miles they traveled more than doubles the distance most personal aircraft can go without refueling | Photo courtesy of RDD)
Leave it to RDD, manufacturers of the innovative LX7 personal aircraft, to make a virtually impossible feat like flying from coast to coast seem down-right routine. That’s exactly what happened on Sunday, April 18 as 79-year-old Ken Wolf and his friend Lin Hough piloted Wolf’s LX7 from RDD headquarters in Redmond to his home in Jacksonville, Florida without a single stop whatsoever.
The two aviators covered the 2,100 nautical miles from the airport in Redmond to Jacksonville in just eight hours and 23 minutes, and they even had to slow down their arrival time to allow a thunderstorm to pass through Jacksonville.
“I’ve been flying for 57 years,” said Wolf. “And that was the most fun I’ve ever had in the air.”
Wolf, a retired eye surgeon, purchased his LX7 a little more than a year ago and chose the piston engine model for its exceptional fuel efficiency, cabin comfort and innovative features, all of which make it ideal for traveling longer distances. The turbo-prop version, chosen by Wolf’s friend Hough, is capable of extraordinary feats as well, with an emphasis on speed and performance.
“The automatic fuel management system in the LX7 gives the plane greater range by keeping the fuel more evenly distributed between the wings,” said David McRae, RDD’s co-owner and director of Marketing, Sales & Business Development. “Maintaining nearly equal weight on each wing reduces drag and significantly increases fuel efficiency over the course of 1,000 nautical miles or more.”
For decades, pilots of personal aircraft considered flying 1,000 nautical miles without stopping to refuel a major accomplishment. Yet, as proven by Wolf and Hough, the LX7 is capable of doubling that distance and then some.
“With the west-to-east tailwind, we had enough fuel left in the tank to go all the way to Jamaica,” said Wolf.
“Next time, we’ll bring our passports,” joked Hough.
But traveling exceptional distances is just the beginning of what makes the LX7 so unique. The team at RDD has gone to great lengths to make every mile more comfortable with hand-crafted heated leather seats, ergonomic controls and a pressurized cabin. What’s more, safety is paramount with airbag front seat restraints and a whole-aircraft parachute.
With a climb rate of 2,000 feet/minute and a flight range enhanced by a fuel capacity of 180 gallons, the LX7 is putting up some impressive numbers for a personal aircraft in its price range. “Specifications and capabilities are how we compare ourselves to other aircraft,” says McRae. “But when all is said and done, it’s all about giving the every-day aviation enthusiast freedom from typical aircraft limitations and, of course, getting there safer.”