Russian-Designed Flying Pickup
Well, it's not entirely new, but it's the first time this no-nonsense pickup truck of an airplane has appeared at Sun 'n Fun and in the U.S. The Discovery 201 is an offshoot of a Russian design called the Akord 201, which found some service in Russia as a heavy-hauling utility airplane. The aircraft has a pair of Continental IO-360s (210 hp each) mounted on a high wing close to the centerline, vaguely reminiscent of a PBY or a Grumman Goose. It's got a pair of clamshell doors in the back for loading heavy or large cargo and can easily accommodate more than eight feet if the rear seats are removed. Question is, what's it doing here?
Discovery Aviation's Rick Cunliffe told AVweb at Sun 'n Fun Monday that his company is planning to build the airplane at a production facility in Melbourne, Fla., and will market it in the U.S. as a unique cargo and working airplane. The aircraft on display at Lakeland has been fully brought up to date with Garmin 500 EFIS equipment and although the exact price hasn't been set yet, Cunliffe said it would probably be just under $1 million. The Discovery 201 is designed for operations from unimproved landing areas and it can also accommodate floats and skis.