Norman Aviation International is soon to sign the first customer for its Nordic 8 Mini Explorer light utility aircraft. The Canadian manufacturer plans to launch a European version next year. The aircraft will be available as a kit or assembled.

The Quebec City-based company has developed the aircraft with North Pole explorer Hubert de Chevigny. The Mini Explorer is a two-seat, 60%-scale model of de Chevigny's Private Explorer "flying camper van", which is designed with two beds and camping equipment built in.

The company is finalising a deal with a North Pole eco-tourism travel agency for the first two aircraft, says managing director Jacques Norman. Talks are under way with several potential customers for the C$34,500 ($22,800) kit. The Mini Explorer is a large ultralight, and uses lightweight sitka spruce in wing construction to keep weight down to 560kg (1,235lb).

The European model is being modified with the French market in mind and has to satisfy regulations limiting maximum take-off weight to 450kg (plus 5% if fitted with a ballistic recovery parachute).

The Nordic 8 for Europe is likely to have a 60kW (82hp) Rotax 912UL in place of the 75kW Rotax 912S. This will reduce cruise speed from 78kt (145km/h) to 65kt.

Source: Flight International