Snake

Licence-free flexwing flying on a sub70 nanolight trike

The Snake flexwing nanolight trike is designed to take advantage of the CAA Exemption E4653, allowing powered, wheeled aircraft to be flown solo without a formal licence. The aircraft needs to weigh sub-70kg with full fuel (75kg with a parachute), stall at less than 20knots and carry adequate third party insurance. However, it can still be registered as a microlight if you already have a licence.

Snake formation: 2x Grif 3DC wings and a Fox13T nanolight wing
Snake formation: 2x Grif 3DC wings and a Fox13T nanolight wing

With historically low levels of depreciation and no need for a trailer or hangarage the Snake offers one of the most affordable routes into flexwing flying.

The trike

As the lightest trike on the UK market the Snake can be paired with more powerful engines and efficient double-surface wings, whilst still remaining legally below the sub-70 limit. Primarily constructed of 6082 T6 alloy with solid Ergal 7075 undercarriage legs, the Snake has been load tested to an amazing +6G with a 100kg pilot without any permanent deformation of the structure. The Snake also boasts the highest payload of any UK sub-70 trike.

Proven load testing on the Snake frame.
Proven load testing on the Snake frame.

The Snake folds up in minutes for easy transport in most cars, eliminating the cost and exposure involved with trailering. Simply remove the detachable 10litre fuel tank and 3 pins to fold the trike and remove the undercarriage legs. Furthermore, the trike geometry allows the wing basebar to be laid flat on the ground, simplifying the rigging process dramatically. A genuine 10-15 minute rigging time including both the trike and wing is easily achievable, making the Snake one of the most portable flexwing aircraft ever created.

The Snake folds up into the boot of even small hatchbacks- saving on hangarage or trailer costs.
The Snake folds up into the boot of even small hatchbacks (Kia Ceed pictured)- saving on hangarage or trailer costs.

The Snake comes with a nosewheel brake as standard. Incredibly strong solid main undercarriage legs eliminate the need for draggy bracing wires and also provide effective suspension on rough ground. The standard foam-core tyres are essentially puncture-proof. Optional tundra balloon tyres are available, but at a 6kg weight penalty.

Snake with optional tundra tyres and Adventure luggage bag.
Snake with optional tundra tyres and Adventure luggage bag.

The trike features ample ground clearance; useful when taxiing over long grass, and creating room for the Adventure under-slung luggage bag option for extended touring.

The Snake comes in a quality anodized aluminium finish with the chromoly steel sections powder coated in your choice of Red, Green or Blue. Special colour orders are available.

Engine options

We recommend the Cisco range of paramotor engines for the Snake, as these offer excellent reliability and power. They are also very smooth in operation compared with most single-cylinder engines. This is due to featuring an internal counter-balance shaft to reduce vibration and improve pilot comfort. However, we can supply Vittorazi, Corsair or Minari engines (albeit at a reduction in power) to suit customer preference, and are happy to advise if you wish to fit your own existing engine to the trike.

Airplay are the sole UK dealers for Cisco Motors, and hold a large number of engines and spares in stock. This investment provides a level of support unmatched in the industry to ensure our customers can get any parts required without undue delay.

Cisco C-Max 175 engine mounted on Airplay Snake
Cisco C-Max 175 engine and wooden prop.

The C-Max 175cc (rated at 27Hp) provides ample power for the Snake and produces nil-wind take-off distances in the region of 40 metres. Alternatively, the Bull Max 230cc (rated at 33Hp) can be legally flown as a sub-70 in some configurations to give increased climb rates (around 800ft/min).

Both engines are available with recoil manual and electric start systems. A centrifugal clutch is optional, but not normally recommended for trike operation.

Thrust is provided by a wooden propeller by Cisco, or the Helix carbon fibre prop. The Cisco prop produces slightly more thrust and a smoother sound, whereas the Helix is more hard-wearing and has the ability to be folded in half when removed from the engine.

Airplay Snake with C-Max 175 and Helix prop fitted
Helix carbon prop fitted.

Wing options

The Snake has been fully flight tested with the widest range of wings of any sub-70 nanolight currently on the UK market, made possible thanks to the trike’s extremely light weight. Take a look at our Wing Options page for more details.

Prices

To help simplify the wide range of choices available to you, we’ve built a price calculator to weigh up the various options.