Saturday, 13 June 2009

Tecnam retracts twin

OK, not really - but in one way or another it was the talk of the show yesterday. Initially that's because it hasn't been seen in the UK before, and as a new economical twin (it is powered by a couple of 100hp Rotax 912s engines) it's got many people checking their bank accounts to see if there's a spare £300k or so they'd forgotten about. It continued to be talked about, in the trade at least, because there are rumours that there's going to be a new dealer. The 'old' dealer, Nick Marley (also the man behind Yeoman Light Aircraft Company, wasn't at the show.
Jamais deux sans trois as they say in France, so the next big talking point happened when the nose-gear collapsed with Flyer writer Nick Lambert sitting in the cockpit. Luckily Nick had touched nothing, as confirmed by someone from Tecnam, but it gained a fair bit of interest and a temporary wooden trestle to boot.

Friday, 12 June 2009

ELA1 Permits

The AT4 looks like being the latest aeroplane to be sold in the UK with an expiring Permit to Fly. It is likely that the Evektor SportStar and the CZAW Sport Cruiser will also be available, ready built with the same permit. The CTLS and the Remos G3 are already here, flying and on sale under the same scheme.

The scheme goes something like this... we are due to get the final set of ELA1 rules soon. This will simplify certification for aircrfat in that category. EASA has apparently taken a look at the above mentioned aircraft and fully expects them to be certified as ELA1 aircraft. In the meantime, ahead of the rules being finialised and coming into force, the aircraft can fly on a Permit to Fly.

Assuming that the rules get finalised and the aircraft get approved, then each Permit will become a full Certificate of Airworthiness (and will become subject to maintenance under EASA's Part M).

This course means that if you buy one of these machines now you could be getting the aircraft that you want ahead of time. It also means that if there are any delays or changes, once that Permit to Fly runs out, you will be left with an aeroplane and no way of flying it. Although that is a possibility, I agree that it is not very likely, but stranger things have happened.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Flying high(ish)

I went for a flight in Cessna's Corvalis 400TT today. The weather at Cranfield was interesting, with bright sunshine and clear blue skies ten miles away, but with low cloud and heavy rain in the vicinity. We, that's to say Steve McKenna, Richard Kerr from Patriot and Pana Poulios from Cessna drunk much coffee while grumbling about the British weather. We took advantage of what we thought was a clearing to fly, but by the time we got to the aeroplane it had started raining heavily again. More coffee, more grumbling. Eventually we got airborne and made good use of the aeroplane's twin turbocharged Continental to pick our way through the holes that had now appeared to some nice clear, unlimited visibility sky. Settled in the cruise, 80% power (a frequently used cruise setting) gave us almost 200kt TAS while burning 17usg an hour.

You can go a long way at those speeds. A strong point of the aeroplane is its ability to take you to the sun (or snow) in comfort - it can climb above most European weather. The service ceiling is FL250 - so you'll need to be using the built-in oxygen.

So, the Lancair, no Columbia. The Corvalis is yours for just $635,000 including a non FIKI (Flight Into Known Icing) TKS system. Full report in the magazine. Nice touches - inflatable door seals giving a very quiet cabin, air conditioning that can be used all of the time (many AC systems need to be off for departure and landing), and speed brakes. Not quite so nice touch - the lack of a stormscope, even as an option, something to do with the lightnining protection mesh used in construction I'm told. In the US they have XM weather, here we don't, at least not yet.

Edit - Talking to Avidyne at Aero Expo it seems that their TWX 670 has recently been STC'd for the Corvalis (N reg only for now though).