First Flight For FK P-51 Replica

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FK Lightplanes has begun the flight-test phase for its scale-replica carbon-fiber P-51 Mustang. The first-flight video, posted online last week, shows the airplane taking off and flying along the runway briefly before settling down again. Test pilot Thomas Kreimeier said the airplane was stable in flight and landing, and responded well to rudder inputs. CEO Roland Hallam said, "With the proof of this flight we get to kick-start the production lines and hire the next 100 people It's fantastic." The 70-percent scale replica attracted a lot of attention at its debut at Aero Friedrichshafen last year.

FK worked in partnership with ScaleWings to develop the design, which they say required 40,000 man hours to build.The company, which has facilities in both Germany and Poland, plans to sell the airplane as an ultralight in Europe. A modified fixed-gear version will qualify as an S-LSA in the U.S.The European version of the airplane is capable of speeds up to 199 knots, but the U.S. version will max out at 120 knots to satisfy the LSA requirements. Range is about 900 nm. The airplane, which the company is now calling the SW51, sells for about $140,000.

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