A graph showing the current U.S. fleet of light sport aircraft showed Flight Design dominating. With more than 300 aircraft flying, the German-based manufacturer bests its closest rival by a wide margin. At Sun 'n Fun, Flight Design demonstrated its intention to expand its market share even further with new and upgraded models and some new marketing strategies. The CTLS model now has new optional equipment available, including Dynon's 10-inch Skyview avionics centerpiece and the large-screen Garmin 696. Garmin's G3X system is also available, with its two-screen PFD/MFD configuration. Flight Design also boasts it has improved fit and finish, support and training, including adding a new transition syllabus for experienced GA pilots who want to move into the light sport arena. The transition course is available to anyone on the company website (www.flightdesign.com).
One new version of the CTLS is the "Lite" model — $20,000 less (at $119,980) and 50 pounds lighter (720 pounds empty weight) than the current CTLS. The price reduction results from increased U.S. content, including avionics, gauges and the ballistic recovery parachute. Also new is the CTLS-HL (high lift) designed for the European glider-tow market, and also for float applications in North America. The -HL comes with a 115-hp Rotax 914 Turbo engine, a 12 percent increase in wingspan and a larger stabilator. The price premium is $14,000, and Flight Design is co-opting with Clamar on a set of composite amphibious floats. Flight Design expects to find a ready market for its High Lift version in European glider clubs, which now face ever-more-stringent noise restrictions.
Other new products in the works include a hybrid powerplant (target price — $34,000); toe brakes; quick-change hand controls (20 minutes to install or remove); and a large belly cargo pod. On the product support side, Flight Design has added seven distributors and 12 dealers.