Cobalt Aircraft Industries, a French start-up, unveiled its new five-place composite pusher design at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., July 28.
“This is the first of many things,” said David Loury, an aeronautical engineer and the company’s founder—Cobalt’s first airplane, its first Oshkosh, and its first press conference.
The all-composite Co50’s design features a wide, electrically actuated panoramic canopy and a canard for stall resistance and high-speed performance. It will be propelled by a 350-horsepower twin-turbocharged Continental TSIOF-550-D2B in a pusher configuration, with FADEC and its attendant single-lever power control, Loury said.
Projected maximum cruise speed is 245 KTAS; at a 75-percent cruise power setting at 8,000 feet, the Co50 is expected to cruise at 220 knots while burning 25 gph. The airplane will be certified to fly at up to 25,000 feet. Fuel capacity is 109 gallons.
Maximum takeoff weight is planned to be 3,087 pounds, with a useful load of 1,213 pounds and a full-fuel payload of 552 pounds. The Cobalt Co50’s dimensions are similar to those of the Cessna 400 or Cirrus SR22, Loury said.
“We are planning to fly the prototype before the end of the year,” he said, adding that Cobalt is targeting certification at the end of two years, while acknowledging that the process could take three or four.
Loury said he made the first drawings of the Cobalt design in 2002. “The goal was to have a traveling tool that was very efficient and didn’t correspond to anything on the market,” he said. “We have a long way to go.”
Cobalt is in the process of setting up a U.S. office in San Francisco, and by early 2011 will decide on a U.S. production site. The company plans dual production facilities in the United States and France, Loury explained, adding that 90 percent of leads so far are in the United States.
The project was first unveiled online three weeks ago. Loury said the company did not plan to take deposits at Oshkosh but is preparing to do so because of demand.
“We’ve had tremendous interest in the past three weeks,” he said. Current price of the Co50 is $650,000; potential purchasers can make a refundable 10-percent deposit or, by making a nonrefundable deposit, guarantee the price of their aircraft.