Pipistrel Alpha LSA Trainer Ready To Fly For $85K

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Pipistrel on Monday announced that its Alpha LSA, which the company calls "the perfect training aircraft," is ready to go, at a price of $85,000. The Alpha trainer is equipped with a Rotax 912 80-hp engine and a ballistic chute. The panel features conventional instruments, complemented by a GPS Garmin Aera 500. The Alpha has a "beefed-up" undercarriage to handle rough student landings, and a full-fuel payload of about 500 pounds. Cruise speed is 108 knots and range is 400 miles. In the training role doing touch-and-goes, the aircraft will burn less than 2.5 gallons per hour, according to Pipistrel. The all-new airplane represents "a completely new approach to flight training," Pipistrel said, "at a cost nearly half that of our competitors."

The airplane has a new wing design based on the Virus wing, but without air brakes, for simpler controls, and with redesigned flaperons that have 25 degrees of flap travel for easy short-field landings. In creating the new design, Pipistrel said, "We have noticed over the last several years that customers have evolved from basic entry-level aircraft to more sophisticated glass everything with autopilot and every other conceivable addition. Great if you can afford it, but with the economy the way it is, most aircraft have been priced from the marketplace for the average person or flight school."