BERNHARD C.F. KLEIN COLLECTION
No. 9698. Verilite V-100 Sunbird (N100VL c/n 001)
Photograph from Verilite via AIN, taken at Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, 1987

Verilite V-100 Sunbird

01/31/2010. Founded in 1954, De Vore Aviation of Albuquerque, New Mexico, is an aviation manufacturer with extensive engineering and manufacturing capabilities, and is primarily known for its external and internal aircraft lighting systems, including its Tel-Tail aircraft vertical tail floodlighting system. It also developed the pulsed light approach slope indicator (PLASI) for aircraft. In 1983 De Vore announced its entry into light aircraft manufacturing when it launched the ultra-light 'Affordable Airplane'.

In October 1983 De Vore formed Verilite Aircraft Company Inc. and announced the V-100 Sundancer. The new company was to produce a light airplane to sell for under $20,000 in 1983 values, however, due to lack of funds design was not started till 1985, when also the V-100 was renamed Sunbird.

Powered by the new British 60 hp 76.91 cu.in (1,261 cc) Emdair CF 077A two-cylinder four-stroke air-cooled engine, the side-by-side two-seater began taxiing trials started at Albuquerque in February 1987. The aircraft was registered N100VL on April 1, 1987.

Test pilot Robert Sharp (formerly with McDonnell Douglas) took the Sunbird on its first flight from Albuquerque on April 18, 1987. Immediately after takeoff and flying in ground effect the aircraft could not maintain altitude and impacted with soft terrain, the nose gear collapsed and the aircraft nosed over. The experimental ultra-light was substantially damaged, while the pilot was unhurt.

Rebuilt and fitted with a 70 hp 92.15 cu.in (1,510 cc) Emdair CF-092B engine the aircraft was flown again on October 5, 1987. Although the aircraft was tested thoroughly and successfully, the planned production did not materialize. The aircraft is still registered as of this day.

Created January 31, 2010