What do Jabiru aircraft owners think?
Bill and Martha Sorenson- J230-D N760J
“In January of 2014, I became the proud owner of a J230-D Jabiru. In February of 2016, I was awarded the FAA’s highest safety award – the Wright Brothers Master Aviator Certificate. The basic criteria for the award is 50 years of accident, incident and violation-free flying. During the presentation, the presenter, Mr. Bob Jex of the Orlando FSDO, asked me why I chose the Jabiru. The answer is simple: I want to continue this safety record for as long as I continue to fly. I believe the reliability of the Jabiru gives me the best chance of accomplishing that. My confidence level in the plane begins the moment I turn the ignition switch. I love, absolutely love, the immediate response and sound of the Jabiru 6 cylinder engine. The sleek looking airframe flies like a souped-up Cessna 172 in which I have over 700 hours of flight time. It’s faster than a 172 and uses about 3-4 gallons per hour less fuel. Combine that with the very capable GRT class cockpit avionics system and I could go just about anywhere. I live in Florida and only a 4 hour flight from Jabiru North America in Shelbyville, TN. I went there for the plane’s first annual and everything was excellent. They’re great people to work with and very accommodating.
If you’re in the market for an airplane and a light sport will fill the bill – you won’t do better than a Jabiru J230-D.”
Woods and Lakes Airpark
Gary Anderson- J250-SP N250SL
“I’m the lucky one that got the first USA Jabiru SLSA J250-SP and have enjoyed it for the last ten years. I’m biased because owning an aircraft that has the power to weight ratio of a Skylane with the wing loading of a Skyhawk and enough room to carry my touring bicycle and assorted touring bags while burning only 5 gallons per hour has me thoroughly hooked. And guess what? No medical needed.
I operate out of a field located at 5900′ asl. Performance “no problem.” Most of my flying is over the Sierra Nevada and the Western States deserts. I have to be retrained when I fly to the low altitude fields so that I can handle the rocket performance of the Jab.
Like most of us I go for the occasional $100 hamburger and do a bit of time in the pattern. I have also used the Jab along with my touring bicycle to do some Aero/Cyclotouring. It’s always fun to watch the expression of the locals when I unload a fully ladened full size bicycle out of the luggage compartment. Great for those unattended airports with no transportation.
On one occasion after looking into the Jab and seeing the bicycle the two pilots of a Citation offer to trade me straight across. I was headed up to southwest Idaho for fun and they said they were only headed to Detroit.
The Jab is no slouch in the cross country department. I have flown it across the country six times. Usually I fly across Wyoming in one direction (does the wind ever abate there?), and across the Southwest in the other. Often the legs are 4 to 5 hours. It’s nice to know that there is plenty of reserve fuel. I have to admit that its endurance is somewhat longer than mine.
I have a little over 1000 hours on the Jabiru now and it’s going strong. I took the Rainbow Aviation LSA Maintenance Repairman course and do most of my own maintenance. I do take the plane back to Jabiru USA for occasional upgrades and annuals mostly because I really like the Jabiru folks. My annuals are inexpensive, the cost being mostly oil and plugs. This lets me enjoy those $100 hamburgers.”
Charles Read– J230-SP N752J, Madison, Wisconsin
“We bought a J230 in 2012 through Eric Evans in Mt. Vernon, IL. We love it, for all the reasons that others have mentioned. One is fuel efficiency; our long-term average (total gallons/total hours) is 4.4 gph — no exaggeration. At that rate, we feel good about our expensive hobby. We can put our folding bikes into the baggage area, fly to an airport near a bike trail, and have a truly beautiful day. We could put our bikes into a Skycatcher, too, along with about *2* gallons of fuel! (A trip around the pattern with your bikes, perhaps?) A bonus is that both Eric and Pete have been extraordinarily generous and patient in helping me sort out the questions and occasional glitches that are bound to arise with a purchase of this complexity. We had never owned an airplane before and had a list of worries, one of which was that we might not really fly it much — wrong! I did my homework, went to Oshkosh, looked at several LSAs and flew a couple of them. None of them could do what our “Ru” can do.”
Ron, Gloria and Duchess Knapel, J250-SP
We purchased our Jabiru back in 2011. We appreciated the attention and information we had received from the folks at Jabiru USA before we made that big decision to buy one. We decided to make that great leap and have never regretted it. The amount of personal time Pete and Katie have given us has been truly amazing. Our Jabiru has been a great purchase for us. I keep records of every time I fill the fuel tanks and calculate the gallons per hour. For the type of flying I do, which is a lot of pattern work along with the occasional one to three hour trip, I average 3.9 gallons of fuel per hour. I have had only a couple of minor problems with the aircraft and engine which Pete and Katie helped me sort out. Our Jabiru has been a very safe and reliable aircraft. It is so fantastic to have the aircraft and engine made by the same great company which I believe is a first. Everyone in Shelbyville has always been so helpful and patient in answering my questions and always having any needed parts on hand for quick shipping (thanks Dawn!). Their service is absolutely first rate!
The Jabiru really is a truly remarkable aircraft. My mechanic always comments on how it is like a “real aircraft” not like some of the “toy like” Light Sport aircraft out there. It flies much more like the Cessnas I learned to fly in rather than the other Light Sport aircraft I have flown.
I always do an owner assist when performing the annual and the routine servicing of my Jabiru. I am only an average weekend mechanic that sometimes enjoys working with his hands. I am able to complete the annual in minimal time because of the simplicity of the aircraft itself. All the needed manuals are available on-line in downloadable PDF files. Many of the replacement parts (like spark plugs, fuel filters, and oil filters) can be purchased at an auto store saving lots of time and money.
I live in the San Jose/Silicon Valley area. When I combined a bi-annual review and a check-out ride with my instructor to South Lake Tahoe he was amazed on how well the Jabiru performed flying over the Sierras, well over 11,000 feet, into KTVA at 6200 feet. Take-offs were no problem even with the high density altitude issues and surrounding mountains. No mushing here.
We love to fly over to the coast to Half Moon Bay (KHAF) for lunch and also Santa Inez/Solvang (KIZA) where we camp right at the airport and use their great facilities. Our dog, Duchess, is now approaching fourteen and has slowed down a bit (like all of us) but she still enjoys a good plane ride and is still always with us. We often will fly down to Fresno (KFCH) to visit my wife Gloria’s brother, Peter, where he is in a long term care facility. They have a great renovated Art Deco terminal with a very nice café we all enjoy. The annual Father’s Day Fly-In camping under your wing at Columbia (O22) in the Sierra foothills is always great fun. Monterey (KMRY) and Oceano (L52) are also favorite destinations. San Francisco Bay Tours are always enjoyed by friends and family in our Jabiru.
We have been back to Oshkosh to the EAA Air Show on several RV trips and always love visiting with Pete and his lovely bride, Barbara. Katie and Ben are also usually there too. Jabiru USA is a great family owned and run business and we feel like they all are like extended family to us and look forward to seeing them all for years to come.
Larry Wheat, J250
Since 2008 I had been longing for a Jab. I was privileged to be able to fly a demo at Arlington, Washington. I like the handling, the quality, especially the engine. It was quiet, smooth and plenty of power. I built two airplanes (both Jabiru powered) before I purchased my J250. One was an Excalibur pusher powered by a 2200 and a Pulsar III powered by a 2200. The Excal is now flying in the Andes, Peru South America used as a photography platform. The new owner loves the performance and the engine. The Pulsar III is now in Minnesota with its new owner that does lengthy cross country with his wife. He even flies me to Minnesota to do the annual inspections. As for the J250 with the 3300-I am in a dream world. The airplane flies and handles fantastic. I can attest to checking out the robust landing gear. I am 72 yrs young and hope to be flying for some time. I put almost 100 hrs on it last year and plan to do more cross country flights to the West side of Washington State and to the air races in Reno, Nevada.
Hollis Babb, J230-SP N230J
I am still a student pilot. The J230 is not my first plane, but it is probably the one I will keep as long as I am flying (I was 69 last month). Before I bought my J230 I was looking at a Lighting. That is what I wanted and I came close to buying one. I realized, after talking to Nick that a student pilot probably should not have that as a plane to learn in. I really liked the whole team there in Shelbyville and finally decided that the J230 had everything I wanted (or needed) in a plane. I had decided I wanted some space to carry baggage, fast enough to not take forever to get there, fiberglass construction, new technology, & simple to fly. After this decision I started looking for my airplane. I did not feel that I wanted to purchase a new one, so I started looking on the web. I found a couple that looked like they might do the job, but after many web pages, I found an obscure ad for one in Nevada!! I would have to go all the way across the country to find one when the factory is only about 75 miles from my home! As it turns out the J230 I purchased was the original J230-SP demo plane (N230J). I flew commercially out with my instructor to fly it back to Alabama. I picked a bad time of the year to do that. The day we arrived, it was a bit gusty, I thought. Both my instructor and I flew that day (we had flown down to Tuscaloosa AL to get my instructor checked out in a J250 before the trip), checked the plane out and closed on the deal. We packed up and were ready to fly out the following morning. We arrive at the airport just after sunup and the wind was more gusty that the day before. We waited there for a week and the weather was never as good as the first day. It snowed 6”-8” every day. The 10 thousand foot mountains all around were obscured with clouds that looked pretty MEAN! I gave up and hired the broker to fly it to Alabama.
I have been busy and have not flown near as much as I would like. Seems there is always a reason to wait until tomorrow. I have enjoyed the airplane. I do my own maintenance and I am thinking of changing the airplane to an ELSA so I can do the inspection (I have a repairman’s cert.) and make any changes I want. I find everything straight forward and easy to maintain. I have GRT in the panel and there is more info than I know what to do with, but I learn a little along. I try to keep my eyes outside anyway. I probably have not been over 75 miles away from my home base (8A1, Guntersville, AL) but I hope to be able to fly to see my mother in SC before too very much longer. I came back from Sebring and told my instructor that I wanted to fly twice a week, but the weather will not corporate with us, so I somewhat have to start over each time I go up. I do hope I can finish my training this year and get my license. Great plane. Starts first time, every time. I’ve let mine sit for some time and still it cranks right up and runs great. I have no fear of the engine failing to bring me home.
Jim and Betty Robinson, J230-SP N705J
From 2011: My wife and I like to fly our J230-SP, 705J, to visit family and friends in Iowa, Arkansas, Texas, Utah, and Nevada, so a recent chance this October to fly to Mesquite, Nevada was too good to pass up. A sun-up departure from home, Riverton, Wyoming, to potty break in Provo, with a detour west of Delta Utah near the Sevier Dry Lake, to Mesquite and then having early lunch with old friends in Mesquite. What a beautiful setting for flying! From high over the Wind River Range and the South Pass of Wyoming, over and around the mountains of the Uintas, over Heber City to Provo, low near the Sevier dry lake country, to the Mohave from breakfast to lunch. Dropping into Mesquite means a long descent, so I like to fly out to the northwest of Mesquite about 15 miles and come down the Virgin River drainage low. What a hoot! The J230 simply is a great traveling airplane. The trip back several days later, though, was just a perfect flying trip. A strong high pressure perfectly placed put 40 knots on our tail all the way home. Launch at daylight from Mesquite and 450 nautical miles, 3 hours 20 minutes, and 16 gallons later touchdown home, non stop. Nothing wrong with 28 nautical miles per gallon and 135 knots average ground speed. I think the division is right! It’s a long climb northbound out of Mesquite with some seriously high ground to clear, so it takes some time to get to 11,500 which is just enough to miss some of the granite. Climbing high loaded up, though, is no sweat. All the pressures and temps settled in the green all the way. Sure, smooth, fast air on the tail put the finish on the trip, but the Jabiru put the shine on it!
Fast-forward to 2015: Well, about our 2010 Jabiru J230-SP…she is no hangar queen. Hours going up (close to 500), and the best part is she is always ready to fly. No maintenance hassles and stable performance. Really fun long distance flier. We have to fly high with strong climb performance at 90 knots at gross. Range safety margin very comforting. Behavior in strong adverse winds is excellent and very confidence inspiring at low speed close to the ground. Good rudder. The small size and light weight makes for inspired handling with a mature airplane feel, especially at maintaining stabilized speeds. Easy to trim to speed. Ours has simple panel, no glass, so we are encouraged to keep eyes out of cockpit and just fly.