Betsch adds that the timing is not necessarily geared to the completion of rulemaking, but rather to different aspects of the recommendations that can and already are being adopted sooner on an international basis. The changes in the certification approach—which include moving the standard-setting to an outside, international body under ASTM—is important in maintaining Flight Design’s target price of $250,000 for its first Part 23 aircraft.
Plans call for flying the first proof-of-concept C4 later this year or early 2014, and beginning a flight-test program in conforming aircraft in 2014, with certification following 12-18 months later. Flight Design first will seek European Aviation Safety Agency ELA (European Light Aircraft) approval, and then FAA validation.
Betsch says the C4, which will have a 1,200-nm range and a 1,320-lb. useful load, is gaining steam as development progresses, and Flight Design has booked 60 deposits for the aircraft so far.
The company announced plans to equip the aircraft with Garmin avionics, citing its experience in Part 23 manufacturing. Details of that package will be unveiled next spring during the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in, but Peghiny says the package will be Garmin’s newest suite.
Flight Design had already selected the Continental Motors IO-360-AF piston engine to power the aircraft, but also said it wanted to offer a diesel option. Betsch noted that with Thielert’s bankruptcy issues, the Centurion had not been seen as a viable option. But Thielert’s recent acquisition by Continental Motors’ parent, Avic International, reopens the option for the Centurion diesel, he says. BRS Aerospace also was selected to supply an integrated, full-airplane parachute system . The company has yet to select the propeller, but Peghiny says it will be from a U.S. manufacturer.