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Ultravia Aero was founded in 1982 by P. Engineer Jean-René Lepage and wife Lorraine Chauvin who were born and raised in Quebec, the French province.
Jean-René Lepage, P.Eng.
Originally established in the Montréal area, the company relocated in the Ottawa-Outaouais region, near the Gatineau executive airport in 1998.
While teaching mechanical engineering, Lepage had designed himself a single-seat ultralight of conventional configuration (single-strut rigid wing, enclosed cockpit, tractor engine) which he first flew in May 1982. The Aeronca look-alike « Le Pelican » got good reviews at the EAA Oshkosh convention that summer and the husband and wife team started Ultravia in the Fall of 1982. The company delivered some 100 kits of the single-seat Pelican between 1983 and 1985.
In 1984, the demand for dual seat ultralight trainers suddenly increased as Canada and some european countries had legislated for ultralight pilot licensing. Whereas most ultralight manufacturers beefed up their designs to add a second seat, engineer Lepage designed a totally new product of modern technology : composite fuselage with hard points for traildragger, tri-gear or float attachment, combined to a metal wing and tail. Due to the low weight restrictions for ultralights at the time, wings and tail were fabric covered. The choice of engines was quite limited in those days, and most Pelican « Club » two-seat airplanes are powered by two-stroke Rotax engines and VW-derived engines.
In 1990, Bombardier-Rotax revolutionized the light aicraft industry by introducing the Rotax 912 80 HP modern 4-stroke engine. With an installed weight of less than 180 lbs, the Rotax 912 allowed aircraft designers to produce a whole generation of lighter, sleeker and more fuel efficient airplanes.
Lepage thus designed the Pelican PL with all aluminum wing and tail, retaining the composite fuselage of the « Club » series and the versatility of gear configurations. With a cruise speed of 105 kts on 80 HP and the reliability of the 4-stroke Rotax, Ultravia now had a true recreational airplane to offer the kit builder looking for a modern, easy to fly and fast to build practical aircraft. Several iterations of the model followed in the next few years (wider cockpit, Rotax 914 turbo, increased gross weight, new gear, etc.) and some 300 Pelican PLs are now flying worldwide, mostly with the Rotax 912/914 series engines.
The Pelican "Sport" was developed in 1998. Less than 18 months after the first delivery, some 30 Pelican Sports were already flying around the world, thanks to the fast-build kit and 25 week-end plan.
Information subject to change