Carlson Sparrow

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Carlson Sparrow
Carlson Sparrow II AN0314505.jpg
Role Ultralight aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Carlson Aircraft
Skyline Technologies
Designer Ernst W. Carlson[1]
First flight 1987
Introduction 1987
Status Out of production

The Carlson Sparrow is a family of American, high wing, strut-braced, single engine, ultralight aircraft that was designed by Ernst W. Carlson and produced by Carlson Aircraft of East Palestine, Ohio and later Skyline Technologies of Salem, Ohio for amateur construction.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Design and development[edit]

First flown in 1987, the original Sparrow Ultralight is a single seater designed as an FAR 103 Ultralight Vehicles compliant aircraft with an empty weight within that category's 254 lb (115 kg) empty weight limit, when equipped with a light enough engine. The Sparrow can also be built in the US homebuilt and light-sport aircraft categories.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

The aircraft has a 4130 steel tube frame fuselage and a wing constructed with dual aluminium I-beam spars, with stamped aluminum wing ribs, all covered in doped fabric. The wings are supported by V-struts and jury struts. The landing gear is bungee suspended. The Sparrow has a fully enclosed cockpit design, allowing flying in cooler weather. The Sparrow was available as a kit that includes a pre-welded fuselage and quick-build wings. The power range is 20 to 50 hp (15 to 37 kW) and the original standard engine specified was the 28 hp (21 kW) Rotax 277 with the 50 hp (37 kW) Rotax 503 as an option, although the additional weight puts the aircraft in the US homebuilt category. Other lightweight engines employed include the 22 hp (16 kW) Zenoah G-25 and the 20 hp (15 kW) 2si 215.[1][2][3][5][6][7][8][9]

The Sparrow can be equipped with skis for winter operations. Construction times from the kit are reported to be 400–500 hours.[2]

The design was named Grand Champion at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh upon its introduction in 1987.[2]


Sparrow Ultralight
Original single seat, high wing, US FAR Part 103 ultralight, with tricycle or conventional landing gear, powered by a 28 hp (21 kW) Rotax 277 or homebuilt aircraft powered by 45 hp (34 kW) Rotax 503 engine. About 100 were reported flying in 2001. Production completed.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
Sparrow II
Two seat side-by-side seating, high wing, US homebuilt development of the single seat Sparrow UL, with tricycle gear and an optional folding wing for transport or storage, powered by a 64 hp (48 kW) Rotax 582. Empty weight of 510 lb (231 kg) and gross weight 1,050 lb (476 kg). 60 were reported flying in 2004. Production completed.[3][4][5][6][8][9]
Sparrow Sport Special
Single seat, high wing, US homebuilt, with conventional landing gear, powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Rotax 503. Empty weight of 360 lb (163 kg) and gross weight 710 lb (322 kg). 37 were reported flying in 2007. Production completed.[3][4][5][6][7][8]
Sparrow II XTC
Two seat side-by-side seating with dual controls, high wing, US homebuilt, higher-powered development of the Sparrow II, with tricycle gear, powered by a 82 hp (61 kW) Subaru EA-81, 85 hp (63 kW) Continental C-85 or 80 hp (60 kW) Rotax 912UL. The fastest Sparrow with a cruise of 110 mph (177 km/h). Empty weight of 600 lb (272 kg) and gross weight 1,250 lb (567 kg). 34 were reported flying in 2007. Production completed.[1][3][4][5][6][7][8]

Specifications (Sparrow Ultralight)[edit]

Data from Cliche and Kitplanes[2][3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Length: 16 ft 9 in (5.11 m)
  • Wingspan: 30 ft 3 in (9.22 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
  • Wing area: 120 sq ft (11 m2)
  • Empty weight: 254 lb (115 kg)
  • Gross weight: 504 lb (229 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 5 US gallons (19 litres)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 277 , 28 hp (21 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed wooden


  • Maximum speed: 63 mph (101 km/h; 55 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 58 mph (93 km/h; 50 kn)
  • Stall speed: 27 mph (43 km/h; 23 kn)
  • Range: 230 mi (200 nmi; 370 km)
  • Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (3,000 m)
  • g limits: +5/-3
  • Rate of climb: 700 ft/min (3.6 m/s)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ a b c d e f Downey, Julia: 2002 Kit Aircraft Directory, Kitplanes, Volume 18, Number 12, December 2001, pages 29,30 and 86. Kitplanes Acquisition Company. ISSN 0891-1851
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Cliche, Andre: Ultralight Aircraft Shopper's Guide 8th Edition, page B-57. Cybair Limited Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-9680628-1-4
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Downey, Julia: 1999 Kit Aircraft Directory, Kitplanes, Volume 15, Number 12, December 1998, page 42. Primedia Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
  4. ^ a b c d e f Downey, Julia: 2001 Kit Aircraft Directory, Kitplanes, Volume 17, Number 12, December 2000, page 39. Kitplanes Acquisition Company. ISSN 0891-1851
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Newby-Gonzalez, Tori: 2004 Kit Aircraft Directory, Kitplanes, Volume 20, Number 12, December 2003, page 51-52. Belvoir Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Downey, Julia: 2005 Kit Aircraft Directory, Kitplanes, Volume 21, Number 12, December 2004, page 52. Belvoir Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
  7. ^ a b c d e f Downey, Julia: 2008 Kit Aircraft Directory, Kitplanes, Volume 24, Number 12, December 2007, page 72. Primedia Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Purdy, Don: AeroCrafter - Homebuilt Aircraft Sourcebook, pages 138-139. BAI Communications. ISBN 0-9636409-4-1
  9. ^ a b c d Bertrand, Noel; Rene Coulon; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2003-04, page 131. Pagefast Ltd, Lancaster OK, 2003. ISSN 1368-485X
  10. ^ Pilot Mix (n.d.). "Carlson Aircraft Sparrow Ultralight". Retrieved 19 January 2011.