Sean Ponsonby’s Vision
photo by Howard Levy
Sean Ponsonby's was one of several Beta
Builders who began early construction of the Vision to prove the plans
BEFORE they went on sale to the public. The prototype was built from the
construction manuals as was his. There are a growing number of builders
moving along at the present.
Sean's was entirely fabricated in a two car
garage, This was the first assembled rollout....
Later moved to a hanger for final finishing
One of the greatest feelings of
accomplishment - being signed off by the FAA.
A beautiful IFR capable instrument panel.
A space saving and simple center stick and dual throttles allow it to be
flown from the right or left seat.
Sean's plane is capable of over 200 mph
cruise at 8,000 feet, climbs 2300 fpm at sea level (continues to climb at
1700 fpm at 6,000 feet), is fully IFR, and was built in under 2 1/2 years by
a first time builder.
Specifications on Vision #0002
Engine: Lycoming O-320
Propeller: 2 Bladed Ivo-Magnum ground adjustable 68" diameter
Empty Weight 925 lbs
Max Gross 1450 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 38 US Gallons 100LL (all fuel held in wet wing)
Vso 58 IAS mph (stalls gently straight ahead)
Vs1 60 IAS mph
Vy 100 mph 2300 fpm solo @ Sea level
Vx 80 mph
Cruise 181 IAS mph = 209 TAS @ 75% power @ 8000'
Base to final 80 IAS mph
Over the fence 75 IAS mph
Touchdown 55 IAS mph (note that the aircraft is in ground effect)
Flaps: Electrically driven, plain type with 0-30 degrees deflection
Cost of Airframe: $7,300
Cost of Engine: $11,000 (firewall forward)
Cost of Instruments: $11,000
Flight Reports on Vision #0002
Photo by Howard Levy.
Flight Report: November 4th, 1997 – Sean
This morning Vision designer Steve Rahm
and I both strapped on our Visions and darted into the deep blue skies of
Florida's space coast. Take off is becoming a snap. Power is gently applied
I allow the tail to come up at 40 and it wants to fly once the tail is up.
It accelerates so fast I'm in the air flying doing 120 before I know where I
am. Takeoff is done with zero flaps and Vy is 100, but I prefer 120 for
better visibility in the busy traffic pattern. I climbed and circled the
airport a few times checking and double checking my gauges before I headed
towards the coast. Once I got out from under the Daytona class C, I climbed
at 2300FPM as I climbed the rate of climb decreased about 100fpm per 1000
feet. I had lost sight of Steve in the Vision prototype at this time and
couldn't reach him on the radio, so decided to do my own thing.
Slow flight went very well, no problem maneuvering it to headings, or
keeping the ball centered while holding altitude. Two power off stalls with
flaps were done. At 60 mph the nose would drop straight ahead with no
tendency to drop a wing or anything scary. One attempt at a zero flap power
on stall was made but the angle of climb was very steep and I was hanging
from the prop and it didn't show any signs of wanting to stall, so I gave up
on that for now. Maybe I'll try again some other day.
At 6000msl I gave it 2700 rpm (redline) and it indicated 175mph or 196TAS
backed up by my GPS. I had more to go on the throttle but didn't want to
overspend the engine so I will adjust the pitch on the ground adjustable Ivo-prop
to take a bigger bite and bring down the static rpm about 200rpm. So with
that and the addition of wheel pants and leg fairings the cruise speed will
no doubt increase even more.
Ailerons and elevator controls make the airplane very responsive and easy to
maneuver. The ailerons feel a little more solid than the elevator but made
it more stable laterally so I didn't mind. I let go of the stick and the
wings tend to stay level. I found that I do need more trim on the elevator.
The electric trim tab is effective but I ran out of travel before I get it
trimmed for straight and level.
The climb rate at 6000 msl was 1700fpm with me and 12 gallons of fuel.
I did some 60 degree bank 360s while holding a constant 3 Gs on my
accelerometer, followed by a few exaggerated lazy eights just because I
After a couple of 190mph high speed passes at 100 feet over a neighboring
airport (to say hi to my friends that work there) I pulled back on the stick
and performed a gratuitous chandelle. The VSI pegged at 3000fpm very easily.
After my adrenaline stopped pumping I headed back home to Spruce Creek
airport where I made an uneventful landing.
When I landed and pulled off onto the taxiway, Steve was there to greet. He
witnessed the biggest grin that he'd ever seen on my face. I hope he knows
that it is because of him that my grin was there, for he provided me with
the gift that I call my airplane, by writing the most comprehensive and easy
to understand instructions that there is, and made it easy for me (a first
time builder) to complete. Hats off to Steve for a job well done.
For all of you Vision builders out there: I hope you stay motivated because
before you know it, you'll have that grin on your face too, and you'll know
how it feels because words cannot express it. There are a lot of great
airplanes out there, and this one rubs shoulders with the best of them.
For all you people on the fence, jump in...the water's fine. For a measly
$427 you have all you ever need to build a great airplane. Also you'll have
the option of buy a lot of prefabricated parts to speed you up. I spent just
over $7000 on materials to complete my airframe. Money well spent I'd say.
Can't wait to get up tomorrow and do it all over again.
Flight Report: December 15th 1997
This was N2VN's first flight with the
wheel pants on and as expected it raised the cruising speed about 7mph. At
5000msl, I was cruising at 182mph IAS @ 80% power, which translates to
At straight and level flight I was still
able to go 200 RPM over the Lycoming redline, which indicates that I need to
readjust my propeller for more pitch which should result in a slight gain in
Slow flight and stalls went very well. I
flew it both in turns and straight and level at 60mph where it handled very
nicely. Stall speed with flaps is 58mph IAS, whereas, stall speed without
flaps was 62mph. The airplane stalls with the nose gently falling straight
ahead and no tendency for a wing to drop. Stall recovery is made by
releasing a little of the back pressure on the stick. I could fly along
around stall speed with the airplane in and out of a stall. A few 90 degree
bank steep turns were performed while holding a constant 4Gs with no signs
of an accelerated stall. Also I performed some pull-up to vertical maneuvers
while indicating 4Gs.
Next up on my test program are some of
the fun stuff. Rolls and loops and maybe a hammerhead. I'll let you all know
how it goes.
Flight Report: January 29th 1998
About 2pm I broke ground, and held the
nose low and accelerated to 150 as Steve was waiting 2/3rds of the way down
the runway camera in hand. As I passed Steve I pulled back on the stick and
up she went like a homesick angel. I hope Steve got a good shot. I leveled
off at 1100 feet (below Daytona's class C) and circled a couple of times
before heading off to the deep blue yonder. As I left the class C airspace,
I pitched up and climbed to 8000 feet. The climb rate was over 2000 for the
first few thousand then it began decreasing to finally 700 fpm at 8000 while
holding 100mph. At 8000 feet I expect the Vy is around 80, I will do more
testing of this on a later flight.
I turned south and pointed the nose at
the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in the distance, and I
gave it the coal for a speed check. I was indicating 181 mph. Doing the
math it works out about 209TASmph at 75%. I am still under propped by 200
rpm which will bring it well into the 200's. I have been tempted to roll my
plane for a long time now, finally today after I had rechecked everything I
could think of for security during my pre-flight inspection (including the
battery in the back) I had no excuses not to roll it. (Other than being a
Chicken) I descended to about 5000' leveled off, checked my entry airspeed,
pitched up until my heels were on the horizon, released the back pressure
and went full left aileron. The airplane rolled pretty fast all the way
around without the need for top rudder.
I did discover a few things that were
loose in the cockpit though. I hadn't put way the checklist properly. I
found that out when it hit me on the forehead. Also I discovered that I need
to vacuum the inside a little better next time as the dust and dirt was in
my eyes. While all this was happening the engine had spluttered and stopped.
I kinda thought it might as most normally aspirated engines do when they're
upside down. I switched on the electric boost pump and the engine came back
to life. Because it all happened so fast, I had only lost about 200 feet
altogether between the stopping and restart. After I stowed all loose items
again, checked the boost pump was on, I rolled it twice more. WOW!!! What a
feeling! This time the engine spluttered but kept going. The roll rate was
not quite a Pitts or a CAP-10 but much faster than a Citabria, or Decathlon.
Somewhere in between I'd say. I also did a hammerhead turn. I pulled back on
the stick until I showed 4G's on the accelerometer, pointed the nose
straight up, looked out at my wingtip and waited for the speed to dissipate
while holding in right rudder, then full left rudder and power out as I
pointed toward planet Earth. I pulled out a 4G's pretty close to the entry
After that, I climbed out and did some
slow flight and stalls. VSo is a little lower than 60mph indicated. I flew
it at around 60, in and out of the stall. It stalls, the nose drops slightly
by itself, and then without any of my input it's flying again. I can fly
pretty much straight and level, in and out of stall without any stick
inputs. The 63 series airfoil gives such a docile stall. That's really
comforting to know. Then before heading back home, I did a few 4G 80 degree
descending spirals to get below the class C and sneak back into Spruce
Creek. When I got out of the plane and removed my parachute, I noticed that
there was a stream of oil down the belly of the plane that originated at the
oil breather. Hammerhead or rolls? Take your pick. I had such a blast today
I don't want to work or go to college anymore, just fly all day. I wish...I
wish. It'll be great when I can carry passengers and share the experiences.
Whip!! Whip!! keep on building!!
N2VN Conversion to
I have chosen that my airplane be the test bed for the
tricycle gear retrofit. Steve has come up with a great design that I feel
will be easy to build, light weight and rugged. Whether or not I will keep
my airplane in this configuration remains to be seen. If the numbers are
pretty close to what I have now, that will persuade me to keep it on.
Customer demand for the trike version is huge and no one wants to be the
first to do this, so since Steve and I share the hangar it's easy for he and
I to build it and watch for any problems as he writes the new instructions
in the construction manual for the Vision builder who chooses the tricycle
The new nose gear is a free castering
4.00 by 4” wheel on a simple spring steel gear (W8 Tailwind) and weldment
that gets bolted on to a reinforced firewall. The main gear is made up of
square tubing that gets bolted onto a reinforced fixture on the back of the
spar. The 5.00 by 5 wheels will trail behind and use rubber compression
discs for shock absorption, similar to a Mooney.
Sun and Fun maybe out for me this year.
If it gets done and I am legal to fly it there then I certainly will do my
best. But, no promises. Look out for the June 1998 issue of Kitplanes
Magazine on the shelves around the middle of May. N2VN is featured in there.
The picture at the top of the page was taken by long time aviation
enthusiast and freelance photographer Howard Levy while formation flying
near Daytona Beach, Florida.
Vision #0002 status - July 2009
Sean hopes to be flying his Vision again in the future and as with many
projects - life gets in the way. He is currently a full time airline
pilot and navigating the challenges of raising a family.