“Demo a Bristell today and make your dreams come true.”

An “Ecstatically Happy” Journey across the Country in a Bristell

My Name is Harold Wickham. So this is how it all started; I was in the market for a Light Sport Airplane, I started the research and while looking at on-line reviews I came across the Name “Bristell” and many others. When I saw the Bristell my first thoughts were “too nice, I can’t afford it”. I continued to compile research, data and reviews from many sources (Pilots, Instructors, articles, on-line searches Demo flights etc.). I was able to narrow it down to the top 4 planes (you know who they are) always thinking that the “Bristell” would be out of my reach. Until the day I called John Rathmell at Bristell US in Lancaster PA., after much discussion, I told John that my Instructor (Leo Fitzgerald) would be in Florida at Sun-N-Fun and would check out the plane for me. Leo owns several aircraft one being in the top 4; his recommendation was initially not the “Bristell” for the same reasons I had “too nice, I can’t afford it”. After much more research and discussion, John Rathmell sent me some photos and a small video of what he called a “Rock Star”; Oh Yeah… I was hooked all John had to do now was provide the specifications and a price quote that met my budget… He did it… The quote was the same as my second choice that didn’t have the Fit and Finish that makes “Bristell” appear out of reach. Long story short; John met all of my needs and wants in an airplane, he coached me through the buying process and even made great recommendations for financing options and insurance.

The day finally arrived when my Instructor (Leo) and I flew (commercially) from Las Vegas NV to Philadelphia to pick up the “Bristell” (affectionately known as Bessie-Amelia after Bessie Coleman and Amelia Earhart) and fly her home to Nevada (A34). We were met by John and the FANTASTIC Bristell Team at Lancaster Airport. When I first laid eyes on Bessie it was overwhelming such a beautiful airplane and so well appointed, the fit and finish were so much more than I had expected; I shocked the “Bristell” team when I literally hugged the airplane. After many photos and an extensive introduction to the “Bristell”, I was finally calm enough to go for my first flight with John who explained the Ground Proximity Awareness (GPA) Training which was developed by the President and CEO of “Bristell US” Lou Mancuso, it is designed to help with the transition to the aircraft and brilliant safety concepts to be a safe pilot. Meanwhile Leo was also getting Ground Proximity Awareness (GPA) Training with Al Huber another of the “Bristell” Team that really has a passion of flying the best aircraft. The training gave me so much confidence not only in the plane but also my ability to fly it safely.

After several training flights with John Rathmell, Al Hubler and Rich Maisano we were ready to begin the long flight back to Nevada. Throughout the flight and many stops we developed a close bond with Bessie-Amelia the aircraft and avionics (Garmin G3X touch) were so intuitive that soon we were in sync and comfortable. We experience many different geographical regions, different weather situations and climates that are typical on a cross country flight. We were never disappointed with the Bristell’s performance and ability; actually we were amazed at the performance level of the aircraft in diverse conditions. We flew in virtually every flight condition possible with confidence and full control. While I was incredibly impressed with the Bristell prior to the purchase; after flying across country I can’t say enough how pleased (Ecstatically Happy) I am with every aspect of this plane. The comfort, avionics, fit and finish, performance and ergonomic design are second to none. Since my arrival home three different instructors (CFI’s) have flown the plane with me and all agree this is without exception this is the absolute Best Light Sport Airplane ever built. If you haven’t been in one, I challenge you to demo this plane and if you can find a better built airplane anywhere buy it. You will not find a better aircraft or value anywhere.

From my heart, I sincerely thank the Bristell Team and I am so proud to now be a part of the Bristell Family.


Harold J. Wickham

Recent post on Light Sport Aircraft web site by Happy Bristell owner, 2011 Bristell N405BL  

Chris Schuldt

February 4, at 4:50 PM

I just arrived home in Virginia with N405BL. I Gotta tell you, the Bristell folks in the USA are awesome people.

I left Punta Gorda, FL on my way home to Virginia on Sunday morning. The pre-buy with John Calla, the previous owner was satisfactory and I was pleased with my new aircraft. About two hours into the flight I has an issue with the electrical system and I could tell the battery was not charging. I diverted to Lake City Gateway airport in northern Florida. My efforts to get some local help seemed helpless so I reached out to the previous owner John Calla. John covers part of the Florida market for Bristell Aircraft and is also a light sport repairman. John called the local mechanic who did the pre-buy inspection with me and also call Lou Mancuso, the CEO and founder of Bristell Aircraft in the USA. Once we assessed the problem it appeared as though we needed a part that would not be easily obtained with my limited travel capabilities. Lou devised a plan which included me taking the part I needed off of his Bristell that was in a hangar in The Villages, Fl, about one hour flight to my south. Now, there is another part of the story that I have to tell you. A month ago, when I looked at N405BL, I also looked at N922BL, which is Lou Mancuso's personal Bristell. I chose to buy N405BL instead of Lou's airplane. None of that mattered to Lou or his decision making process. He made it explicitly known that no matter what, if you own a Bristell, you are part of the Bristell Family. In the end, I was able to troubleshoot the problem down to a faulty switch in the panel and I was able to complete my flight to Virginia. 

If you are on the fence about buying a Bristell, know that it is an incredible airplane that is backed by an incredible company. They are customer focused and here to help you. Whether you buy a new plane or one of the used Bristell aircraft in the US fleet, Lou Mancuso and his team will help get your plane back in the air as quickly as possible, including taking parts off their planes to get you going.

I would also like to say, the folks at Lake City Gateway Airport were also wonderful. 

Louis is a great man to work with... patient and kind and super knowledgeable about aircraft.

Melissa J