Photos shared with AVweb show the Cobalt Co50 Valkyrie undergoing flight testing at Hayward Executive Airport (KHWD) this summer before a test flight setback in September sidelined the newer of Cobalt’s two test aircraft. According to the NTSB preliminary report, after determining that the ailerons were not effective, the ATP-rated test pilot “reasoned that he would be able to land the airplane while configured at an increased airspeed using steady thrust control and the rudder for directional control.” At approximately 10 feet above the runway, the pilot experienced an abrupt loss of lift followed by a hard landing, says the NTSB. Upon impact, the right landing gear separated from the airframe, resulting in damage to the right-wing spar. The accident took place on the 11,800-foot runway at Castle Airport (formerly Castle Air Force Base) on Sept. 5, 2017. The pilot was not injured in the crash.
The TSIO-550 powered Valkyrie has been the subject of, alternatively, a great deal of excitement and suspicion in the aviation and mainstream press after its debut in November 2015. The Cobalt website suggests the V-tail, canard-style four- to five-seater will be certified under the homebuilt/experimental category, but likely with the minimum legal level of buyer involvement—similar to the strategy employed by Evolution Aircraft. The current advertised base price is $635,000. Cobalt’s David Loury declined to be interviewed by AVweb, but says the company is focused on the first batch of production aircraft.