The Karatoo, correctly called the Australian Karatoo, is another aircraft that stems from the hands of Jessie Anglin, the designer of the Spacewalker.
The Karatoo is a high wing, 2 seat, tail dragger. Construction is similar to the Spacewalker consisting of a steel tube truss type fuselage, with fabric covering. Wings are normally wood construction and we have an aluminum wing under development. The aircraft can also be mounted on floats for amphibious operations.
The Australian Karatoo is a derivative of the popular J6A Karatoo designed by Jesse Anglin. The J6A in it’s original format was a very light weight aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of 900 pounds. In this format, it didn’t need a lot of power, a Rotax 503 two stroke would do, and it was more of a fun machine than a work-horse. Into this scene came Max Peters from Australia. Max already had a lot of credentials in developing Subaru engines for aviation use, particularly gyrocopters. Max was looking for an aircraft he could use back in Australia, a big country famed for its rough dirt strips and long distances between fuel stops. The J6A Karatoo fitted the bill (almost). The undercarriage of the J6A was a little on the weak side and in its original form, no suspension. It was “cozy”. The 503 / 582 powerplants weren’t suited to hard work out in the paddocks.
So Jesse and Max got together and started beefing up the aircraft. It grew as well. Bigger engines came along, and that all important maximum take-off weight got a boost, all the way up to 1200 pounds. Fuel tanks got bigger to give more range. Flaps appeared as an option. So for all intents and purposes, it was no longer a J6A Karatoo and the Australian Karatoo was born. It was still a J6 but was now known as a J6B. It’s still under development (as most aircraft are wont to do) and has now reached the designation of J6C, with a still wider fuselage and revised rear fuselage structure. The fuselage structure is very strong and should last “decades”.
The fuselage structure is a fully welded steel tubular frame, covered with fabric. 4130 “N” steel tubing with the most common sizes being 3/4″ x.035 wall thickness, 5/8′ x .035, and 1/2″ x .035, (a full tubing list can be forwarded should you wish to fully construct your own aircraft). Welding (if it’s a DIY’er) can be Oxy, MIG or TIG. Kits ordered from the factory are fully TIG’ed.
The wings design has changed from the original solid spruce spar to an “I” beam spar constructed from 2 spruce cap strips and a plywood web. The rear spar is still a solid spruce spar. The original ribs on a J6A Karatoo were built up from spruce strips, a very tedious form of construction. The ribs currently are routed from 1/4″ marine plywood, much simpler and easier to construct than the original design. A full D cell leading edge is used to enhance strength in the design. Flaps may be incorporated if you need to enhance the aircrafts already impressive take off and landing performance. The wing is still covered with fabric. A wing fold system can be incorporated.
Engines now include the ever popular Rotax 912 and 912S 100 hp. Jabirus and Subaru’s have been used, as well as the popular O200.
In places like Canada the aircraft has been adapt ed successfully for floats.