Liberty Close To Type Certification

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First With FADEC...

Aircraft certifications are rare enough in this day and age, not to mention those that incorporate a major technological shift. Liberty Aerospace entered the history books earlier this week as the first manufacturer in the world to gain a Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) for their Liberty XL2 two-place piston single with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC). The aircraft flies Continental's IOF 240, a 125-hp FADEC-equipped engine. "There's a degree of relief," said Liberty President Anthony Tiarks. "It's nice to be the first." Full certification is expected soon. All that's left is for FAA pilots to put the trim two-place touring plane through its paces and match the results of 132 knots on 5.5 gph reported by Liberty pilots. "We've been told it takes four to five weeks," said Tiarks. Liberty test pilots have spent the last four months wringing out the airplane, including 160 spins from every imaginable configuration. Tiarks said that because there is so much new technology and material in the airplane, the FAA-mandated testing was rigorous and thorough. In addition to FADEC and the combination of composite and aluminum construction, the XL2 incorporates some unique features, such as the finger-controlled brakes. Tiarks said the brake system helps avoid landing accidents caused by touching down with the brakes on and is among dozens of safety-related innovations. He also noted that the plane has been crash-tested to higher standards than other new designs.