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Sadler Vampire

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

Sadler Vampire
Role Sport aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer American Microflight/Sadler Aircraft Company
Designed by William G. Sadler
First flight mid 1982

Sadler Vampire LSA promotional photo
Sadler Vampire LSA promotional photo

The Sadler SV-1 Vampire is a single-seat ultralight sport aircraft developed in the United States in the early 1980s. It is uncharacteristic of ultralight designs in both its layout and its construction. The Vampire is a mid-wing cantilever monoplane of pod-and-boom configuration and twin booms joined by a common horizontal stabilizer. The wings fold for storage and transport, and the undercarriage is of fixed tricycle type. The single engine is mounted pusher-fashion at the rear of the pod that also includes the open cockpit. Construction throughout is of metal.

The Vampire won the "Grand Champion Design" Award at the EAA Fly-in at Oshkosh, Wisconsin in August 1982. Subsequently, designer William Sadler founded American Microflight (later Sadler Aircraft Company) to produce the aircraft. Series production began in February 1983, and had reached the rate of four per month by 1984. Rights to this sport version were sold to Aero.V.Australia based at Illawarra Regional Airport in Albion Park Rail, New South Wales.

By the late 1980s, Sadler was offering a militarized version of the design as the Piranha. Equipped with an enclosed cockpit, bullet-resistant fuselage pod made of Kevlar, machine gun mounts in the wing roots, and a hardpoint under each wing for disposable stores, the Piranha is intended to provide ground attack, counter-insurgency, and interdiction missions. Power was originally provided by a converted Volkswagen air-cooled engine, but a converted Chevrolet V-8 automotive engine was eventually fitted.

A UAV version was developed around the same time. Designated the UAV-18-50, it carried a pilot for takeoffs and landings. It never flew without a pilot on board and was never fitted with any armament.


  • #1 - The original prototype. 30' wing, 20hp Solo single-cylinder 2-stroke engine.
  • Vampire - Production version with a 30' wing. American FAR Part 103 legal. Not currently in production.
  • SV-1 - 22' wing. Produced in Australia under license by Skywise Ultraflight with a KFM 107 engine. No longer produced.
  • SV-2 - 22' wing. Produced in Australia under license by Skywise Ultraflight with a Rotax 447 engine. No longer produced.
  • SV-2A - Very similar to the SV-2. Current production rights held by Aero V. Australia.
  • SV-3 - Similar to the SV-2A with an HKS-700E 4-stroke engine. Current Production rights held by Aero V. Australia.
  • UAV18-50/Experimental #001 - Also known as the RPV18-50 and the OPV18-50. Similar to the SV-2 with shorter wings and thicker wing skins. Originally powered by a Rotax 503 engine. Produced for General Atomics for evaluation in the Predator program. Only 1 built.
  • A-22- Shares few components with the SV series. Powered by a V-6 auto conversion. Export version for Turkey; Unknown number built.
  • Piranha- Based on the A-22. Powered by a V-8 engine, capable of speeds up to 285 mph. Only 1 built.
  • Vampire - 2 seat US-LSA compliant version. Original prototype destroyed in post-crash fire, Sept 2008. 2nd prototype currently under construction. Both the original ultralight and the 2-seat LSA version are known as the "Sadler Vampire."

Specifications (Vampire Ultralight)

Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1985–87, p.677

General characteristics

  • Crew: One pilot
  • Length: 17 ft 6 in (5.33 m)
  • Wingspan: 28 ft 0 in (8.53 m)
  • Height: 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m)
  • Wing area: 116 ft² (10.8 m²)
  • Empty weight: 250 lb (114 kg)
  • Gross weight: 550 lb (250 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × KFM 107ER, 20 hp (15 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 63 mph (101 km/h)
  • Range: 300 miles (480 km)
  • Service ceiling: 10,500 ft (3,200 m)
  • Rate of climb: 350 ft/min (1.8 m/s)

Specifications (Vampire LSA)

Data from

General characteristics

  • Crew: One pilot
  • Capacity: 2
  • Wingspan: 26 ft 0 in (7.92 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 0 in (2.44 m)
  • Wing area: 134 ft² (12.3 m²)
  • Empty weight: 800 lb (364 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1320 lb (600 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Jabiru 3300, 120 hp (90 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 138 mph (221 km/h)
  • Range: 696 miles (1114 km)
  • Rate of climb: 1000 ft/min (5.1 m/s)

External links

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Published in July 2009.

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