Cobalt Unveils Co50 Valkyrie

Today is a big day for a San Francisco-based company named Cobalt as it has unveiled a new single-engine propeller airplane named the Co50 Valkyrie. With a profile more reminiscent of a light fighter jet, Valkyrie could beat out the Mooney Acclaim Type S as the fastest certified single-engine airplane on the market with a top speed of 260 knots.

Whether Valkyrie will make it to market is another question, however. Cobalt’s founder and CEO David Loury said the project has been underway for about 10 years, having moved from both France and Canada, where Loury found the bureaucracy of the certification process too arduous. Loury moved the company to San Francisco about 1.5 years ago.

The sleek-looking airplane is designed with a highly aerodynamic fuselage, a short wing with a 20-degree sweep and a canard mounted below the nose. Loury said the canard stalls first, preventing a stall on the main wing. Valkyrie also has some other unusual safety features, such as airbrakes that deploy automatically through a hydraulic actuator if the airplane reaches Vne.

A turbocharged 350-hp Fadec-equipped Continental engine is mounted at the rear of Valkyrie’s fuselage. Loury categorizes the airplane as a four-plus-one as the rear middle seat is designed for a small person or child. Loury expects the full fuel payload to come out around 1,200 lbs.

The panel has Esterline’s certified 12-inch SmartDeck screens, incorporating an autopilot and the latest in avionics technology. Flight controls are managed via a sidestick.

The order book for the airplane opened today. There are options to sign up for both experimental and certified models of the airplane. The cost for the experimental version — Valkyrie X — is $595,000 and the company says delivery can be expected in about six months. Deposits for the certified version, with an introductory price of $699,000, are accepted at $15,000 a piece. Loury said five prototypes have been built and flight testing is already well underway. However, no details of the progress of the flight testing were disclosed other than to say that famed test pilots Mike Melvill and Mark Stucky have been happy with the performance so far.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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