Collection Highlights

Spectrum Beaver RX550

Artifact No.: 1987.2091 


Highlights:

  • A Canadian two-seater, high-wing ultralight trainer designed and first produced by Spectrum Aircraft Inc.; put into service in 1983
  • Quickly became the most popular ultralight trainer in Canada
  • Spectrum Aircraft of Surrey, British Columbia is a leading maker of ultralights in North America
  • Over 2,000 RX550s were produced by Spectrum and other manufacturers over 20 years
  • Aircraft Sales and Parts of Vernon, B.C. redesigned the RX550 in 1995, producing it as a kit in the twenty-first century
  • Also marketed for agricultural spraying, cargo transport, air ambulance, police and military duty
  • First flight was in the mid 1980’s

Image Gallery:

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History:

The Spectrum Beaver is a Canadian ultralight which can be mounted on floats.

In 1986 the Museum example was flown from Halifax to Vancouver by a paraplegic pilot, Carl Hiebert, to promote support for paraplegics.

Current Location:

Reserve Hangar, Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Provenance:

Donation from Invacare Canada/Hovis Medical

This Beaver RX550 was manufactured by Spectrum Aircraft Inc. of Surrey, British Columbia, in 1986. In July and August of that year, paraplegic pilot Carl Hiebert flew the aircraft from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver, British Columbia, landing at Expo '86. Hiebert raised $100,000 for the Canadian Paraplegic Association through this journey, which was called "Gift of Wings". The following year, the Beaver was donated to the Museum by Invacare Canada Ltd./Hovis Medical Limited in 1987. It was shipped to the Museum by truck from Vancouver in September 1987.

Hiebert started his own flight school as the first Canadian paraplegic flying instructor.

Photos from Hiebert's historic flight can be found in his book Gift of Wings: An Aerial Celebration of Canada, published in 1995.

Technical Information:

Wing Span 11 m (36 ft)
Length 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in))
Height 2 m (6 ft 8 in)
Weight, Empty 155 kg (342 lb)
Weight, Gross 347 kg (764 lb)
Cruising Speed 84 km/h (52 mph)
Max Speed 113 km/h (70 mph)
Rate of Climb 191 m (625 ft) /min
Service Ceiling 3,962 m (13,000 ft)
Range Unknown
Power Plant one Bombardier Rotax 503, 48 hp, 2-cylinder 2-cycle engine
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