Mahi is a Sinus 912, a two-seat, ultra-light, high-wing, cantilever monoplane manufactured by Pipistrel Aviation based in Slovenia.
The development of the Sinus began in 1994 in close collaboration with the Slovenian firm Albastar Ltd. A year later, the Sinus was unveiled at AERO Friedrichshafen 1995, with first flight of the prototype taking place in 1996.
In 2001, Philippe Zen and Thomas Knowles flew a Sinus at the World Air Games in Spain and won first place in the two-seat category.
The Sinus 912 is eco-friendly, weighs less than a family of four, and is smaller than the average kitchen. It soars like a bird in glide mode, is exceptionally efficient, highly reliable and promises us unmatched views of the Earth.
With these qualities, the WE! Expedition has dubbed her Mahi (Great Planet Earth in Sanskrit) – a friend, a guide who is going to take us on a never before journey around the world.
As the leading lady of the WE! Expedition here are the 7 virtues of Mahi –
1. THE POWERTRAIN
An 80hp at 5800 rpm Rotax 912 UL2 4-stroke engine powers the Pipistrel VARIO – a variable-pitch propeller that can be feathered during unpowered flight. This means lower air-resistance, longer glide distances and therefore, greater fuel efficiency.
2. THE MILEAGE
Speaking of efficiency, Mahi only consumes about 10 litres of fuel per hour at a high cruise-speed of 200 kmph (110 kts). Combine that with 15-meter wings and a 1:28 glide ratio, with feathered propellers and what you get is an aircraft that can stay airborne for up to 1200 km. Clean aerodynamic lines and a perfect finish is what enables the Sinus to perform even better than a number of typical motorless gliders.
3. THE FUSELAGE
In terms of geometry, Mahi is equipped with positive and negative flaperons, airbrakes and nosewheel. It is manufactured from hi-tech epoxy resin, fibre glass, carbon and Kevlar composites, making it lightweight, yet sturdy and incredibly safe.
4. THE COCKPIT
Let’s move on to the cabin. With 44” of space, the cockpit can comfortably seat two people side-by-side. All controls are easy to use and reachable from both seats, but the dual controls have been disabled, which means Mahi can be flown only by the pilot-in-command.
5. THE COMFORTS
Mahi’s cabin is properly insulated from noise (noise levels have been measured at <60db) and very comfortable, which is extremely important given the length and duration of flights our pilots will have to endure. The seats are also ergonomically designed with an adjustable headrest. Both the pilot and passenger pedals have differential toe brakes fitted. The pedals are adjustable forward and aft in flight and are manufactured from stainless steel.
6. THE INVULNERABILITY
Safety always comes first. Which is why the entire cabin area is encased with energy absorbing structures made from Kevlar fibre, an amazing material which maintains the integrity of the cabin and makes it safe in case of stronger impacts. Together with a special Safety Cockpit Concept, Mahi is equipped with a ballistic parachute rescue system, which saves the complete aircraft together with the crew in case of extreme emergencies.
7. THE FORTITUDE
What makes Mahi especially suitable for a trip around-the-globe is her ability to land almost anywhere thanks to her highly efficient airbrakes and excellent slow flying characteristics. When it comes to take-off, all this wonderful plane needs is approximately 100m of runway. This makes even the smallest and most remote airfields accessible for the occasional pit-stop.
Combine all these and what you get is a well-equipped globetrotter.
To find out more about WE! and Mahi’s upcoming circumnavigation attempt – the first ever by a woman and the first ever by India, in a motorglider, visit wefly.org.in