– 2018 Overall Aircraft of the Year

Known worldwide as DRACO, like Madonna it is so famous that is needs no last name or introduction. Defying all logic and any performance chart ever created, DRACO has also defied the criteria for the – 2018 Aircraft of the Year awards, otherwise reserved for FAA Certified in-production aircraft.


The result of this inaugural award was already known before the competition even began, the same was true for the STOL Drag competition at the High Sierra Fly-In that we had the pleasure of attending in October 2018.


This labor of love, passion and innovation by Mike Patey (Flying Cowboys) is a wildly modified Wilga PZL104, fitted with a 680hp PT6A-28 turboprop engine and a 102” 4-blade reverse thrust carbon prop (MT Prop).


A brief snapshot of the spec sheets reads as follows; custom machined trailing link landing gear for the 35” Alaskan Bushwheels, larger brakes, custom fuel tanks in the arm of the landing gear, 4-place oxygen system, new wing (adding over 1’ of chord + 6” of length each side etc etc).



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The list is endless, the budget was seemingly as well:

  • General Features: Back-up camera and light plus 737 landing lights just for joining up with buddies in flight.
  • Landing Gear: 35” Alaskan Bushwheels, trailing link suspension.
  • Avionics: Full glass panel, 2 x MFD, 1 x PFD, 3-axis autopilot, enhanced visibility through a night vision camera, AoA.
  • Cabin Features: 4-Place oxygen.

Performance Highlights:

Take-off Roll:          118 ft

Landing Roll:          160 ft (with 300hp reverse thrust)

Cruise Speed:         156 kts @ 17,000 ft (180mph / 290km/h)

Stall Speed:             32 kts (37mph / 60km/h)

Climb Rate:             4,000 fpm (whilst gaining airspeed)