Vulcanair Updates Manufacturing Plans In North Carolina


Italian planemaker Vulcanair says it will begin deliveries from its new manufacturing plant in North Carolina in 2025. Spokesman Mike McMann said the company is also building a parts distribution warehouse at the Elizabethtown complex. At a news conference at Sun ‘n Fun last week, McMann also announced the sale of five of the four-place aircraft to Aviation Flight Group LLC, which will be delivered by the end of the year. Deliveries have been made to Central Texas College, too. A nationwide network of parts and service centers is also being set up.

The aircraft is going primarily to flight schools. Although it’s similar in size and appearance to a Cessna 172, it’s at least $100,000 less expensive and delivery schedules are much shorter. The company says there’s an annual shortfall of 500 training aircraft worldwide and that has resulted in three- and four-year backlogs at Textron and Piper. As part of its North American expansion, Vulcanair has put together a maintenance video to familiarize service companies with the aircraft. It’s powered by a Lycoming IO-360-M1A and has an IFR panel with a Garmin G500 Txi coupled with a GTN 650.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. Looks a lot like the late ’60s Commander 100 or Lark Commander. A C172 competitor, but very basic.

  2. Honestly, it’s the wrong design to try and mass produce.
    A clean sheet design that uses minimum labor and minimum machining could get the costs down to half of what riveted metal 4 place airplane sells for.

    Think of a structure like a Jim Bede tube spar with a Rutan inspired cut foam wing. Basically think of any modern RC plane when it comes to fast molded parts. Keep the O-320/O-360 because they are reliable and simple and maintainable and not exotic. Done. Instruments these days can be little more than a pair of iPad type screens. A small factory should be able to assemble a hundred a week. Oh, and every plane comes with a simple form for every buyer that says “you accept all risks if you buy this plane for the very low price and you cannot sue us for making it available for you”.

    If I was not too old to start a business then that’s how I would make airplanes for the masses.

    • Sorry, hit report by accident. (Please separate that Avweb).

      Unfortunately. There’s not demand for volume, and I don’t think you can dodge liability that easily. First fix needed is airport protection. Second, more tort reform.

      Reduced labor is a great idea, and much needed.

      • The ‘Report’ button is tricky, easy to hit by mistake especially as it is highlighted. I’d also like to see it changed

    • The design is proven and versatile. If it could be produced more economically that would be grand. Jim Bede’s tubular spar and slip on wing modules might be a direction to examine but then again who’s followed up on this? Fixed gear, fixed pitch, low maintenance, easy inspection, good longevity and easy repairability are a very elusive combination to corral for a reasonable price. well, lets see how this venture fares in today’s financially risky world.

  3. A 40 year old 172 is still a 172 and is recognized as such. It has a market and every piece has a resale value. You can convert it to a floatplane as well as upgraded powerplants and folks will still know what it’s worth. Modern tech is neat but spamcans have stood the test of time. Not many composites are used (outside of training) in commercial operations. Riveting a new belly skin or leading edge does not send one into the unknown. Repairing a composite in a timely manner might give some people a bad case of heartburn. If you want to bring costs down then start with liability and tort legislation.

    • Point is that you don’t repair, you snap on new parts.
      Repairing aluminum structures is even more labor intensive than building them!
      If you design with high volume easy to make parts so you don’t “repair” parts; you replace them.
      If you want low cost then you eliminate artisans and go high volume and low complexity one pass parts.

      The model airplane industry when through the same thing. Hand made building of balsa wood models is nearly extinct. Now they are squirted out of machines with near zero hand made parts or assembly.

      • “The model airplane industry when through the same thing. Hand made building of balsa wood models is nearly extinct. Now they are squirted out of machines with near zero hand made parts or assembly.”
        And that is a shame. The value of what is lost in the name of cost and expediency is priceless.

    • Composite repair is no more difficult than aluminum. Both need trained people. Agree on torts and liability but would add consensus standards for certified powerplants that are not controlled by LyCon.

  4. Roger, are you trying to imply that Rotax engines are neither simple or easy to work on?

    Do take a look at your calendar. and Rotax does have 160 Hp engines that can easily power a 4 Seater with increased capacity because the engine weight is much lower.