Al Marsh Archive
Detail one: the carbon-fiber airplane has 100,000 simulated rivets and screw heads in its molds, meaning the airplane appears to be made of metal. Detail two: when the pilot starts the aircraft, a sound system is automatically triggered playing a recording of the Merlin engine used by the real Mustang. The speaker is on the lower cowl disguised as a cooling vent. Detail three: puffs of smoke emerge from the fake exhaust stacks to add to the impression that this is almost the real thing.
Its aerobatic as heck, capable of plus 8 Gs and minus 4 Gs. Here are some details from the FK Web site. So when can you buy this $130,000 aircraft? You can’t yet. In July final testing and approval will be done in Europe, with deliveries in late summer. Then FK Lightplanes, headquartered in Poland with a branch in Germany, will go to work making the airplane with fixed gear to comply with the American light sport rules, getting rid of the adjustable prop because it also isn’t allowed on light sport aircraft, and getting ASTM approval so it can be sold as a S-LSA light sport aircraft.
Dan Johnson, head of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and owner of the bydanjohnson Web site, reports on this and other models displayed at Aero, the main airshow in Europe for lightweight aircraft. Check his May 8 story.
On an upbeat note, here are new jets coming down the line:
Bombardier has announced the Challenger 350. Startup customer is NetJets in 2014.
Nextant Aerospace is upgrading its Nextant 400XT (based on the Hawker 400) to the 400XTi. The company captured the early lead in a race with Beechcraft to modernize the Hawker 400 fleet after the former Hawker Beechcraft delayed its modificaton program six weeks due to cash-flow problems. The upgrade includes two 3,050-lbst Williams FJ44-3AP engines. The choice of engines is a heatedly contested argument between Nextant and Beechcraft.
While Beechcraft has no jets coming down the soon-to-be-sold jet line, upgrades to the Hawker 400XPR continue. Winglets developed at Sierra Industries will be certified in the fall and made available for installation at Beechcraft service centers. Originally, certification of the winglets was expected in January 2013 with deliveries in February. The 400XPR also includes conversion to 3,200-pound-thrust Williams FJ44-4A-32 engines.
Cessna is coming out this year with its M2, the new profit-saving (Cessna-saving?) Sovereign, the new Citation X, and in the first quarter of 2014, the first flight of the Latitude with certification in 2015. The Mach 0.86 Longitude (Cessna’s biggest jet for the next five years) will enter service in 2017. A single-engine turboprop is still in testing, still not ready for public announcement. The SMA diesel-powered piston-engine Skylane JT-A will be certified in June.