Flight Design, maker of the bestselling CTLS series of light sport aircraft, mounted a Siemens motor on the new F2 to create an electric edition for certification. The F2e made its public flight debut this month in Germany.
The June 5 debut at the airport near Strausberg, Germany, followed a maiden flight on May 29 that was pronounced a “complete success” by the company. Tom Peghiny, president of Flight Design USA, said market entry of Flight Design’s first electric aircraft is still about a year and a half away, slated to follow certification of the new, Rotax-powered F4 and F2 models announced in April.
The F2 and F4 variants will share the same airframe, an all-composite structure that includes a cabin that will be “two and a half times stronger than any we’ve built before,” Peghiny said. That’s part of a suite of safety features that will give the new F-series aircraft a lot in common with modern race cars, which use high-strength components engineered to absorb and deflect energy away from the occupant(s) in a crash. In the case of the F2 and F4 aircraft, that integrated “safety cell” will be supplemented by AmSafe airbags and a BRS full-airframe parachute to further facilitate energy dissipation and protect pilots and passengers.
Peghiny said the certified aircraft being developed will add to Flight Design’s popular line of light sport aircraft, not replace them. The CT-series LSA models remain the most popular in the United States, according to data compiled by Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association. Peghiny said the CT Super Sport line is now available to U.S. customers, offering a lower-cost alternative to the CTLS series with simplified avionics and a price around $135,000 for typical equipment, compared to the $170,000 cost of a CTLS model with typical equipment. (Flight Design offers a detailed configuration and pricing tool online.)
The F2 with Rotax power is expected to begin deliveries in October following approval as a light sport aircraft. The F2e, powered by a Siemens motor, will be the last of the new models certified, since there is currently no pathway for light sport aircraft to be approved with electric propulsion. The F2e will be certified, and since it will have two seats and the same airframe as the F4 (a four-seater), there will be “lots of room for batteries,” Peghiny noted.