April 14, 2011
By Thomas A. Horne
A mockup of Flight Design’s latest design—the four-seat model C4—made its entrance April 14 at the Aero Friedrichshafen exposition in Germany. With a max takeoff weight of 2,640 pounds and a max cruise speed of 160 KTAS, the C4 is anything but LSA-like, even though Flight Design earned its spurs as a the builder of hundreds of its popular CT-series of light sport aircraft. Flight Design plans to certify the airplane in two variants—one powered by a 180-horsepower Lycoming IO-360, the other fitted with a diesel/Jet-A-fueled, turbocharged, two-liter Centurion (née Thielert) powerplant capable of 155 hp. The Centurion will have FADEC (full authority digital engine control). One big goal is to certify the C4’s Lycoming engine to run on either 100LL avgas or auto fuel.
The four-seater’s initial certification papers have already been filed with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and it’s expected that U.S. FAR Part 23 certification will soon follow by virtue of reciprocity when EASA ultimately blesses the all-composite design. Deliveries in the United States should begin in 2013. At this point, the typical delivery price weighs in at 220,000 euros; deliveries in the United States will not exceed $250,000, according to Flight Design. Though the details have yet to be finalized, the C4 is planned to have a Garmin G1000 avionics suite as standard equipment, Flight Design said. An emergency parachute installation will be standard, but AmSafe’s airbag-seatbelts will be an option.
Centurion-powered C4s should realize greater fuel economies. Flight Design published a specifications sheet that gave the Lycoming-equipped airplane a maximum range (at 65-percent power) of 1,200 nm and a maximum endurance of 10 hours (at 55-percent power). At the same power settings, the Centurion should deliver a whopping 1,700 nm range and a 13.5-hour endurance. Maximum fuel capacity is 70 gallons.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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