July 24, 2011
There may already be lots of four-place single-engine airplanes in the world for buyers to choose from, but the folks at Flight Design say their new C4 will find a market. At a price point of $250,000, with a roomy cabin and lightweight carbon-fiber construction allowing for a hefty payload of around 1,300 pounds, Flight Design CEO Matthias Betsch told AVweb on Sunday the C4 will appeal to plenty of pilots. Betsch is showing a full-size mock-up of the airplane this week at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. Cruise performance is estimated at about 150 knots, and the BRS full-airplane parachute will be standard on every airplane. Key to the airplane's appeal is the price. "We'll do everything to make that number," Betsch said. "That's the magic number."
The mock-up shows the exterior design of the C4 only, because no decisions have been reached yet on avionics or the engine, Betsch said. He will be meeting with some suppliers this week and hopes to have agreements soon. Flight Design is best known for its light sport airplanes, but Betsch says the company, which manufactures its aircraft in the Ukraine, expects the certification process to go smoothly. The company recently gained EASA Design Organization Approval, which enables them to progress on their own schedule without the need for step-by-step involvement from EASA. Once EASA approval is achieved, it is a relatively simple process to transfer that certification to the FAA. Betsch said he plans to have a prototype flying in time for the Aero aviation show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, in April 2012, and attain FAA certification by early 2013. Tom Peghiny, CEO of Flight Design USA, talked with AVweb about the airplane; click for the video.