September 22, 2011
By Thomas A. Horne
At AOPA Aviation Summit, Flight Design announced its decision to go with Teledyne Continental Motors’ new, six-cylinder IO-360-AF engine in its recently announced four-seater, the C4.
The engine, given the “AF” suffix because of its ability to use alternative fuels, will be rated at 180-horsepower and be able to use both 100LL avgas and auto fuel.
This will be the initial offering for the C4, said John Doman, Flight Design director of business development and global sales and marketing. “We remain committed to also offer a diesel engine operating on Jet A, but the decision on a heavy-fuel engine will come later.”
The IO-360-AF is a derated derivative of the engine used in the Cirrus SR20, which has a 200-hp maximum power rating. The C4’s detuned IO-360 has a lower compression ratio (7.8:1, versus the SR20’s 8.5:1) and will turn at a maximum of 2,550 rpm in order to minimize noise and enable the use of auto fuel. The C4 engine will have conventional magneto ignition, a constant-speed propeller, and a recommended TBO of 2,000 hours.
“We saw the C4 at Aero Friedrichshafen last April and felt that the C4 will take off in the marketplace,” said Teledyne Continental Motors Director of Factory Services Michael Gifford. Gifford said that the IO-360-AF should give the C4 a maximum cruise speed of 160 knots burning 11.5 gph, and a maximum range of 1,200 nm.
Since April, the C4 has garnered 15 customer orders and 50 distributor orders. A refundable $7,000 deposit secures an order, Doman said, and after the airplane’s first flight (set for the first quarter of 2012), those wanting to proceed are eligible for a $10,000 discount on the $250,000 airplane.
Flight Design will next decide the C4’s glass-panel avionics. The company is looking at offerings from Garmin, Avidyne, and Dynon, but Doman said that Garmin’s G3X—the system used in Cessna’s Skycatcher—is too small. “We want 10- to 12-inch screens in the C4,” he said.
Certification of the C4 is expected to take place in late 2012 or in 2013.
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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