Quad City Ultralight Aircraft offers four models of Challenger Aircraft and several options and accessories. The following is an explanation of the various offerings and an explanation of their uses along with my experiences and opinions.

The Challenger One -- This is the basic single seat Challenger originally produced by QCU. This is our least expensive model and is a great flyer as all the Challengers are. For fun flying on a budget, it is about as inexpensive as one can get in a fully capable aircraft kit.

The Challenger One Special -- This is the Clip Wing version of the single seat Challenger. It comes standard with many features offered as options on the standard Challenger One. It can be ordered with the stronger wing spars of the Challenger Two and has very high stress limits. It is not an ultralight, it is in fact the little hot rod of the four aircraft. A very fun aircraft intended for the more experienced Challenger pilot and the highest performer of the four.

The Challenger Two -- This is by far the most popular of the four and is probably the highest selling kit of any single model in the industry. It provides a very wide speed envelope, cruising low and slow while also being a very capable cross country light aircraft. It is very efficient, providing good cruise and low speeds and great fuel economy with the popular Rotax Engines. It flies very well with wheels, ski's or floats and makes a good motor glider due to it's low sink rate. A very good all around flyer that fits many customer desires while providing excellent cost per hour savings.

The Challenger Two Special -- The Clip Wing version of the standar Challenger Two. It also comes standard with several options. It's shorter wing offers a higher cruise speed than the standard wing and it will roll into and out of turns faster although the standard wing will turn tighter. It is not as efficient at low and slow speeds but is a very good cross country light aircraft. Due to it's smaller wing, it is not suitable for float operations but does very well on wheels and ski's.

Engine Options -- This is Section IV of the kit and is a complete power package. It contains the engine and all it's necessary accessories, the engine mount, the Propeller Speed Reduction Unit (Prop Drive) and the propeller. QCU currently offers three Rotax Engines, a 447, a 503 and a 582.


10 Gallon Fuel Tank -- The standard tank with the kit is a 5 gallon tank. Almost all kits sold upgrade to the 10 gallon tank. This is a recommended option.

Aluminum Wheels -- The standard wheels with the kit are 5 nylon which are lightweight but not as strong as the aluminum. The aluminum wheels are normally ordered with the kit and come in 5 for all three wheels or 5 for the nose and 6 for the mains.

Fiberglass Wing Tip -- These are modified Hoerner style tips for the two place wing which offer increased STOL and cruise capabilities. This is a very high quality fiberglass product designed and manufactured by Jerry Bartleson for QCU.

Boxed Wing Tip -- This option is recommended for the standard wing as it will stiffen the wing. The kit contains sheet aluminum that's installed at the outer tips of the wings. It creates a 3-sided "box" within the last two "rib sections" and greatly improve the roll rate.

Fiberglass Nose Cone -- This is a more aerodynamic rounded nose that offers slightly more performance and better looks than the standard fabric nose.

Flaperon Kit -- This is a modification to the aileron control mechanism that allows the ailerons to be raised or lowered together while still allowing opposing operation for aileron control. Although called Flaperons, they are not intended to be used as flaps in the general sense. They can be lowered a small amount to operate as flaps but their biggest advantage is in flight trim where they offer excellent trim capabilities. This is a highly recommended option.

Brake Kit -- Todays heavier and faster aircraft should be equipped with brakes. The standard factory kit is a quality product but is only marginally effective especially with 6 wheels.

Wheel Pants -- These are lightweight fiberglass wheel covers. At the slow speeds our type of aircraft fly, these do not offer much in the way of increased performance but dress up the aircraft very nicely. They are available for the 5 or 6 wheels.

Instrument Package -- QCU offers a basic instrument package. This is not a recommended option as there are better options on full instrumentation available elsewhere.

Shoulder Harness -- The QCU kit comes standard with a lap belt and with the addition of this option, you will have a four point restraint system. This is an inexpensive and highly recommended option.

GPL Electric Starter -- GPL is the only manufacturer currently manufacturing an electric start option that will fit the Challenger airframe. They are available from several different suppliers so it pays to shop around. Be sure to get the deluxe model as it fits the Challenger better without further additions.

Streamlined Strut Fairing Set -- These are aerodynamic PVC covers for the wing lift struts and gear leg tubes. They are good quality, lightweight, paintable and improve the cruise speed significantly. A highly recommended option.

3 Piece Center Section Cover -- These 3 pieces go together to cover the gap between the wings. They are aerodynamic in appearance and function and improve the looks of the aircraft greatly. This is another quality fiberglass product designed and produced by Jerry Bartleson for QCU.

Lexan Door Kit -- These are aluminum tube framed Lexan full enclosures for all four Challenger models. They are available in either clear or tinted Lexan and are highly recommended for cold weather flying.

This is a general description of the aircraft kits, options and accessories available from QCU Aircraft. Depending on your goals for the aircraft, some are more common sense than others. The reason for so much to be offered as options or accessories is to allow the builder to fit out the aircraft to his own desires and requirements.

There are many other after market items available for the Challenger. Some are very good and many are excellent and highly recommended. Many of these aftermarket items can be found under the Kit Building and Modifications section of this site. Do your research and you can fit out your Challenger to suit yourself quite well.

Author:   George Hurt