The story of Europa Aircraft began in the 1990s; born from a dream to build a small aeroplane capable of quiet, comfortable, high speed, low cost touring. The basic concept was to produce an aircraft that made real flying affordable and possible – an aircraft that could:
- be built and be stored at home
- be easily transported on its own trailer
- operate on car fuel
- be rigged and ready for flight in under ten minutes
- carry two people in comfort
- provide sufficient baggage for extended touring
- take off and land on unprepared grass fields
The original model, the Europa Classic, achieved all of these objectives. It was easily capable of being rigged and de-rigged by a crew of two, road transportable for home storage on a purpose-built trailer, able to use short, unprepared grass runways with STOL performance, economical to operate, fast, cost effective, simple to construct, and easy to maintain and environmentally friendly.
The Europa Classic sold in hundreds, making a firm impression on the kit plane industry, and in 1995, the first Europa built by a home constructor was airborne. It was exhibited outside the Department of Trade and Industry who had invested money into the fledgling Europa Aircraft company.
The Europa Classic was by now a strong contender in the self build area, however it was the launch of the Europa XS that gained the company massive acclaim worldwide. The Europa XS was available in two versions – the Europa XS Monowheel and the Europa XS Trigear. It had preformed hollow wings, more streamlined cowling, extended tailwheel, enlarged baggage bay and a better balanced spinner. These developments meant that the new Europa aeroplane still fulfilled the original objectives, but now offered extra speed, extra range, extra baggage space and extra comfort. It was also designed to reduce the build time and maximise the pleasure of the build process – developments that were welcomed by builders and pilots.
The Europa XS was named one of the UK's Millennium Products. These products were chosen following a nationwide initiative run by the Design Council to identify and promote products and services demonstrating British business innovation. When Prime Minister Tony Blair unveiled the products in London, he said “The Millennium Products chosen today show the range of creativity and innovation in this country. These are world-beating designs that will help improve the quality of our lives in the next century”
The Europa XS also made an appearance on the popular Children''s TV show, Blue Peter gaining itself a prized Blue Peter badge in the process!
Most recently, Europa launched the Europa Motor Glider for those pilots who like to fly with their engines switched off – most impressively, the glider wings can be interchanged with the wings on the Europa XS Monowheel and Trigear, providing even more choice for the Europa customer.
In the last twenty years, Europa Aircraft has grown to be one of the most successful British kit plane suppliers, with over 1000 kits sold, and Europas (Classic and XS models) flying at last count on 6 continents. It has a very enthusiastic, loyal and supportive team behind it and a huge following.
In light of this, it''s no surprise that the recent news of further Europa development, including significant investment into the company has stirred excitement in the industry. Development plans include further enhancements to existing design, modifications to the existing Europa XS for the LSA market, development of a brand new plane – available in self build form or certified to CS-VLA and finalisation of the Motorglider.
The Europa story is a great one and has a heritage that will continue to be built upon. The underlying mission, objectives and philosophies of Europa will never change, but Europa will continue to use innovation, new technology and feedback to ensure the Europa remains the number one composite kit plane of choice for self build enthusiasts and pilots throughout the world.