The Extra 330 LX is the two seat variant of the extremely successful Extra 330SC, which has been winning international aerobatics competitions since it’s release, these include seven World Unlimited Championships since 2009.
Kayle Wooll and Jason Beamish invited me along to photograph their two beautiful LX’s over the Hartbeespoort Dam recently an opportunity that I definitely couldn’t refuse. Jason received the first 330 LX in the country about two years ago, Kayle took ownership of his late last year and successfully completed his first aerobatic competition last weekend earning a second place in the Advanced category.
I was blown away at how comfortable these monsters were at low speeds, the photo-ship we used, a Cessna 170, could barely maintain 100kts, Jason and Kayle however felt comfortable to manoeuvre at this speed.
The Extra 330 LX is arguably the world’s premier two seat aerobatic competition and air show aircraft. Produced by Extra Aircraft of Germany, the 330 LX is lighter, faster and more manoeuvrable than any other two-seater of this type.
The main difference between the 330 LX and its predecessor the Extra 300 L is its wing design. The new wing and increased manoeuvrability and even faster roll rate and gives the pilot the ability to take their air show performance and competitions to an even higher level of extreme aerobatics. The Extra tumbles and rolls at awe inspiring rates in almost any attitude.
The Extra 330 LX is powered by a Lycoming AEIO-580-B1A, 315 hp, 6 cylinder engine. The AE IO-580 is a custom built high compression engine and delivers 315 hp to the Muehlbauer, MTV 9-B-C/C198-25, 3-blade propeller.
To keep this thirsty beast happy it is equipped with two fuel pumps, one of which is engine driven and the other electric. All 330 LX’s are equipped with a factory fitted Smoke system, with automatic filling system, the smoke oil is fed into a Gomolzig, 6-in-1 exhaust system. Some of the airshow pilots fit the standard system with a slightly bigger jet to ensure improved smoke density.
The Airframe consists of Carbon fibre wing assembly with integral tanks and carbon composite empennage structure. The fuselage is manufactured from 1.7734 steel with a tandem seat bubble canopy cockpit located behind a Titanium firewall. All the push-rods are constructed from very strong yet lightweight carbon composite. The rear cockpit sports manually adjustable rudder pedals with differential toe-brakes, contour moulded adjustable composite seat (the front seat is fixed in position). Both seats are equipped with Hooker safety harness with ratchet to ensure pilot and passenger stay firmly planted in their seats during negative G manoeuvres.
The standard panel houses Airspeed indicator (kts), Altimeter (ft, inHg/hPa), Mechanical accelerometer (G-meter), Magnetic compass, Slip and skid indicator, Digital RPM indicator, MAP/FF indicator, CHT/EGT, oil press./oil temp gauges, Fuel gauges and an Aresti card holder.
The Extra 330 LX is rated to +10 and -10 G’s when flown solo, add a passenger and it drops to +8 and -8 G’s, and has an empty weight of only 585kg. With a wingspan of 7,5 m and a total length of 6,8 m it is not a very large aircraft. The very clean cut straight lines present very well in aerobatic competitions adding to its desirability for serious competition pilots. The ACRO tank carries 101 litres of fuel and the wing tanks will increase that to 224 litres but these will only be used when ferrying the aircraft and straight and level is maintained.