Unique airplane rolls into airport

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A unique airplane arrived in Brookhaven recently – not by airbut by way of an 18-wheeler.

Crates containing parts for an EADS PZL 104 MA-Wilga 2000arrived July 7 at the Brookhaven Airport, where a team of mechanicsincluding Gerry Mosley assembled the aircraft in less than a week.The plane took it its first taxi down the runway July 13 and itsfirst flight the following day.

“It went together good,” Mosley said. “We didn’t have to doanything to it after the test flight.”

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The Wilga 2000, manufactured in Poland, is the only aircraft ofits kind in the U.S. at this time. Several features set it a partfrom typical American made airplanes.

“One thing that is different is trailing link landing gear,”said Airport Manager Clifford Britt. “It has a big shock absorberon the wheel that will move when landing. It’s good for landing ingrass or rough areas.”

Another unique characteristic to the Wilga 2000 is high liftwings to give more lifting power, Britt said. The four-seater, 300horsepower aircraft can obtain a maximum speed of 130 miles perhour.

“In our test flight we were showing 123 mph at 75 percentpower,” Mosley said. “The aircraft also has the potential to takeoff at full load in 600 feet and can land and stop in 300feet.”

The airplane’s main function is a towing craft.

“The Wilga 2000 is a tow plane that has the capability of towingthree gliders,” Mosley said. “Right now, Canada uses it to teachair cadets to tow gliders.”

The aircraft, belonging to the Jim Webb Group from Brandon, willleave Brookhaven on Thursday to participate in the ExperimentalAircraft Association’s AirVenture Air Show in Oshkosh, Wis.