In May this year, Porto Aviation broke their own World Speed Record set with its RISEN aircraft back in 2015. This amazing result was certified by la Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, the official International Aviation Registrar.  Not satisfied with setting the fastest World Speed Record for Ultralights at 325.23 kph/175 kts at MSL, Alberto Porto set another one, just to make sure and to prevent eventual competitors from making callous assertions. This time, he flew up to 10,000 feet using the more powerful Rotax 914 115 HP engine instead of the ordinary 100 HP Rotax used for his previous record. The mere 15 HP and the higher altitude helped the aerodynamic Risen soar up to 400 kph/248,5 mph o 216 knots if you prefer!
Since their admittance to the skies forty years ago, ultralights have certainly come a long way and it shouldn’t surprise anybody especially the more attentive amongst us who have followed their evolution and witnessed general aviation’s two-seater drop in worldwide sales. Even the most critical pilots who persevered in ostracizing “microlights,” or Light Sport Aircraft as they are called in the U.S. must finally come to grips with the fact that these planes, whichever way they are called, like it or not, are no longer “rickety tubes of cloth with wings that fly”. From an objective point of view, if major pundits recognise the rapid transformation of aviation between World War I and the end of WWII in just 27 years, then they’ll have to admit that the only difference between the warbirds evolution and the ultralights’ is in the length of time taken to get to where they are at now. In terms of speed alone, the 1917 Armstrong Whitworth F.K.10 fighter airplane flew then at the incredible speed of 84 mph, by 1944 the Hawker Tempest fighter bomber was moving at around 435 mph, with faster speeds and more modern designs reaching 600 MPH by the end of the war in 1945.
These millennium ultralights have had 40 years instead of 27 to better themselves coupled to a few Space landings to learn from. They have unquestionably become well manufactured, highly technological, and certainly in the case of the Risen even better designed than most obsolete general aviation airplanes seen on runways today.
The secret as Alberto once told me when he took me for a “spin,” was mainly in the fluid dynamics along with state-of-the-art aerodynamics that his Risen bestows. A glide ratio of 1:23 should say it all. Basically, it’s what it is all about as he well knew while designing the keel for a Volvo Ocean Race boat or offering his expertise to top automobile manufacturers such as Maserati. Unsatisfied with the propeller’s performance during tests, Alberto designed another which reduced wind resistance, improved fuel consumption and perfected thrust to the point that he was able to cross over to Brazil from Europe with just four fuel stops against the 15 to 16 that as a rule would be obligatory for a single engine airplane with a 600nm range on the Northern route! As a result, Alberto the entrepreneur, launched a new line of propellers trading under the name of Idrovario. Just for the record, the 1428 nm Atlantic crossing from Capo Verde to Natal, Brazil was completed in 10.2 hours at average speed of 140 kts.I had the pleasure of meeting the man, the engineer, the entrepreneur and pilot  again at a superbly attended “Fly in” in Pavullo del Frignano, Italy at the beginning of July 2021 where he was presenting his “Super-Fast” cutting edge RG Risen that is head bound for the US as an experimental and ready to beat his own or any other challenger to his records.
Michael Hall founder of Planesandsails.com (left) chats to Alberto Porto CEO of Porto Aviation in Pavullo del Frignano, Italy next to the latest “Super Veloce” model of the Risen.

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