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At Rud Aero, New Designs In The Works

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Rud Aero, a small company based in Sebastian, Fla., told AVweb at Sun 'n Fun that besides the two carbon-fiber aerobatic aircraft they had on display, they have two more designs in the works -- a single-engine four-seat high-wing airplane, and a small twin based on the same cabin and wing. The two airplanes on display were experimental two-seaters, the tailwheel RA-2 with tandem seating and the tricycle-gear RA-3 side-by-side. That aircraft is now being EASA certified, company founder Taras Rud told AVweb at the show, and he expects it to be available in the U.S. as an FAA-certified airplane soon. The airplane can be reconfigured in several ways, he said, using different wings for training or for advanced aerobatics, or switching the gear from tricycle to tailwheel, either to accommodate an owner's evolving needs or to satisfy various goals in a flying club.

The new four-seat design now in development, the RA-4, will have a six-cylinder engine, a cabin 10 inches wider than in a Cessna 182, and a low stall speed, Rud said. He expects first flight by the end of this year. "Easy handling is important for this market, where you have owners who aren't flying every day," he said. "It should be easy to land, that's important. Big, roomy, comfortable, fast, with a low landing speed." He is also working on a twin-engine version of the new airplane, he said.  "We have rapid prototyping technology in our plant that makes it possible for us to design and build two aircraft in three years," Rud said. "And number 3 is on the way." Rud says he just started advertising kit versions of the two-seat airplanes a few weeks ago and has a few interested buyers. Owners can come to the factory to help build the fuselage, he said, then take it home to finish the engine installation and the rest. Kits start at $69,000 for a four-cylinder airplane and up to $105,000 for the six-cylinder kit.

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