Europa XS

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Europa XS series
Role Kit aircraft
National origin United Kingdom
Manufacturer Europa Aircraft
Designer Ivan Shaw[1]
First flight 12 September 1992[2]
Produced 1994[2]-present
Number built 495 by 2011[3]
Variants Liberty XL2
A tri-gear Europa kitplane on display at the Canadian Aviation Expo in 2004
Europa Classic with mono wheel landing gear
Rotax 912ULS powered XS takes off showing its single mainwheel and outriggers
Europa Classic with monowheel gear and Subaru engine, flaps retracted and outriggers latched up

The Europa XS and Europa Classic are a family of British composite two-place low-wing monoplanes, manufactured by Europa Aircraft and supplied as kits for amateur construction. More than 450 Europas have been completed.

Europas are flown in Europe in the very light aircraft category. In the United States the Europa XS is currently awaiting light-sport aircraft certification and as of October 2012 the design does not appear on the Federal Aviation Administration's list of approved special light-sport aircraft.[4][5]


Ivan Shaw's design work on the Europa, as it was initially named, began in January 1990. The first prototype, G-YURO, first flew on 12 September 1992 and Popular Flying Association certification was gained in May 1993. Most Europas have been sold in kit form, although five factory-assembled aircraft were produced between 1994 and 1996. The first kit-built aircraft to be completed flew on 14 October 1995.[2] By the autumn of 2007 450 Europas of all types had been completed and were flying.[6]

The basic design was later developed by Ivan Shaw into a United States FAR certified aircraft, built by Liberty Aerospace in the USA as the Liberty XL2.

The Europa is classified as a homebuilt in its home country of the UK and qualifies for a Permit to Fly. This limits it to day and VFR flight. Previous restrictions of flying over built up areas were removed during 2008. In Canada the Europa is an amateur-built aircraft and qualifies for a Special Certificate of Airworthiness.[7]

In 1997 UK Prime Minister Tony Blair launched the Millennium Products competition to promote British industry in the 21st Century.[8] This culminated in 1999 with a winners list of 1012 manufacturers and their products. One of these was the Europa XS, described as "A light aircraft which offers speed, economy and performance and can be stored on a trailer in your garage."[9]


The streamlined composite design and the unusually low canopy give the Europa both high cruise speeds (up to 200 mph (322 km/h)) and high fuel efficiency (up to 50 mpg or 5.6 l per 100 km) due to the decreased drag.[10]

The Europa can be fitted with Rotax 912UL of 80 horsepower, the 100 hp 912ULS or the turbocharged 115 hp 914UL engine.[10] Other engines have been successfully installed and flown, including Subaru auto-conversions (for example the NSI propulsion EA 81/100), Jabiru Aircraft engines, and the Wilksch WAM aircraft Diesel engine.[citation needed] Having used twin Norton engines in his "Twin Eze",[11] Ivan Shaw had intended to specify the derivative MidWest AE series wankel engine as an option on the Europa Classic, but carburation issues led Shaw to drop this plan.[citation needed]

Europas can be fitted with either normal (tourer) wings made out of fiberglass with 102 sq ft (9.5 m2) wing area and 13.43 lb/ft2 wing loading at MTOW or motorglider wings, made from carbon fiber with a greater span. Since the fuselage is common to both motorglider and tourer then with both sets of wings the same fuselage can be configured as a tourer and a motorglider alternately. The wings can be removed for transportation or storage in five minutes.[10]

The Europa touring wing uses a unique Dykins 12% thickness/chord ratio airfoil designed by Donald H. Dykins, who had been deputy Chief Aerodynamicist at Hawker Siddeley Aviation, and later technical director of British Aerospace and chief aerodynamicist on the European Airbus.[12]

The motorglider wing uses a different wing section, also designed by Dykins, with its center of pressure coincident with that of the smaller wing to ensure that the rudder and tailplane are equally effective with either. Wingspan is increased to 42 feet (13 m) bringing the wing area to 135 sq ft (12.5 m2). The motorglider wings are fitted with airbrakes rather than flaps.[13]

Development is also under way for wings suitable for a light-sport aircraft variant of Europa XS.[14]

Europas are available with either a tricycle undercarriage or monowheel landing gear with a tailwheel and outriggers that are lowered with the flaps.[10] The latter configuration has weight and performance advantages over the trigear version but can be prone to groundlooping in inexperienced hands, partly due to the lack of differential braking.

The fuel tanks are located in the fuselage and have a capacity of 18 US gallons standard and 28 US gallons optional. This gives a range of 841 sm standard or 1256 sm extended at economy cruise setting.[10] The plane can use AVGAS or MOGAS depending on engine requirements and national regulations. It is also possible to upgrade fuel capacity with the addition of extra fuel tanks.


Europa Classic
At the time it was produced the first variant was simply called "Europa". This version is now referred to as the Classic and kits for it are no longer in production.
Europa XS
Introduced in 1997,[2] the Europa XS is available in two models – the Europa XS Monowheel and the Europa XS Trigear. The XS incorporates many incremental improvements over the Classic, including preformed hollow wings, a more streamlined cowling, extended tailwheel, enlarged baggage bay and a better balanced spinner. These developments meant that Europa XS still fulfils the original design objectives, but now offers extra speed, range, baggage space and comfort. It was also designed to reduce the build-time and simplify building.[10][15]
Europa Motorglider
Introduced in 1997.[2] Long span glider wings can be interchanged with the wings on the Europa XS Monowheel and Trigear.[16][17]
Europa LSA
The Europa Light-sport aircraft has a new carbon fibre wing incorporating a leading edge slot. The result is a wing weight reduction of 30%. It reduces the maximum take off weight to 1,320 lb (599 kg) with an empty weight of 520 lb (236 kg), giving a slightly increased payload.[15][18] A concept version appeared at Sun 'n Fun In May 2010 and the production aircraft debuted at AirVenture 2012.[19] and the LSA was launched in the US at Sun n Fun April 2011[20][21] As of October 2012, the design does not appear on the Federal Aviation Administration's list of approved special light-sport aircraft,[5] however an experimental, amateur-built example could be flown under the light-sport pilot rules.


On 1 June 2007 a Europa Classic, registration G-HOFC, broke up during a flight over South Wales, United Kingdom, killing both occupants. The investigation indicated irregularities in the construction of the right wing attachment at the rear lift/drag pin. There was also evidence of movement of the tailplane surfaces beyond the normal range of movement.

As a result of the initial findings, the Light Aircraft Association released two Airworthiness Bulletins requiring immediate and repetitive inspections:[22]

  • PFA 247/FSB006 ‘Europa Classic and Europa XS Tailplane Flutter Avoidance and Integrity Of Tailplane Attachment’
  • PFA 247/FSB007 ‘Europa Classic Integrity of Wing Attachment’.

The content of these Airworthiness Bulletins was made mandatory in the UK by the issue of Mandatory Permit Directives. The final accident report concludes that these modifications and the mandated inspections of aircraft already completed, adequately address the construction issue.[23] This accident only affects older Europa Classic aircraft, all of which should have now been modified and not the XS model which has a different structure.

Aircraft on display[edit]

Specifications (Europa XS, tricycle undercarriage, Rotax 912ULS)[edit]

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004[26]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 5.84 m (19 ft 2 in)
  • Wingspan: 8.28 m (27 ft 2 in)
  • Height: 2.13 m (7 ft 0 in)
  • Wing area: 9.48 m2 (102 ft2)
  • Aspect ratio: 7.2:1
  • Empty weight: 354 kg (780 lb)
  • Gross weight: 623 kg (1370 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912 ULS, 74 kW (99 hp) each


  • Cruising speed: 250 km/h (155 mph)
  • Range: 1355 km (732 miles)
  • Rate of climb: 5.1 m/s (1000 ft/min)

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ "Flyer" magazine, 19 Jun 2006
  2. ^ a b c d e Jackson 1999
  3. ^ Vandermeullen, Richard: 2011 Kit Aircraft Buyer's Guide, Kitplanes, Volume 28, Number 12, December 2011, page 51. Belvoir Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
  4. ^ Experimental Aircraft Association (2011). "Special Light-Sport Aircraft". Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Federal Aviation Administration (12 October 2012). "SLSA Make/Model Directory". Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Kitplanes Staff: 2008 Kit Aircraft Directory, page 50, Kitplanes Magazine December 2007 Volume 24, Number 12, Belvior Publications, Aviation Publishing Group LLC.
  8. ^ "Tony Blair Unveils Final Millennium Products". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2013-01-13. 
  9. ^ "Millennium Products list" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Europa Aircraft (2004) Ltd (n.d.). "Product Specifications". Archived from the original on 2008-02-03. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  11. ^ Bowmore, Steven A. (2006). "Ivan SHAW's 'Twin-EZ'". Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  12. ^ Lednicer, David (October 2007). "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 2008-08-17. 
  13. ^ 'Kitplanes' magazine, July 1999
  14. ^ Europa Aircraft (2009). "LSA Wing". Retrieved 2009-08-10. 
  15. ^ a b Bayerl, Robby; Martin Berkemeier; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011-12, page 101. WDLA UK, Lancaster UK, 2011. ISSN 1368-485X
  16. ^ Europa Company Brochure
  17. ^
  18. ^ /"Europa LSA". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  19. ^ "Europa LSA Sun n Fun 2010". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  20. ^ "Europa LSA Sun n Fun 2011". Retrieved 2011-04-05. 
  21. ^ Bernard, Mary and Suzanne B. Bopp: Europa Aircraft: Europa XS LSA Trigear, Kitplanes, Volume 29, Number 12, December 2012, page 25. Belvoir Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
  22. ^ AAIB Report on the June 1, 2007 Europa Accident
  23. ^,%20G-HOFC%2005-08.pdf AAIB Bulletin: 5/2008 G-HOFC
  24. ^ Ellis 2010 p.262
  25. ^ Yorkshire Air Museum (n.d.). "Europa Prototype". Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  26. ^ Jackson 2003, pp. 489–490.
  • Ellis, Ken (2010). Wrecks & Relics (22 ed.). Manchester: Crecy. ISBN 978-0-85979-150-2. 
  • Jackson, Paul (1999). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1999-2000. Coulsden, UK: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-1898-0. 
  • Jackson, Paul (2003) Jane's All The World's Aircraft 2003–2004. Coulsdon, UK: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-2537-5.

External links[edit]