Flight Design’s C4 Nears First Flight

Development team gets up close and personal with new Continental engine.

Flight Design C4

Flight Design C4

Flight Design C4

The development team at German airplane manufacturer Flight Design is getting ready for a significant milestone in its four-seat airplane program, named the C4. Flight Design USA’s president Tom Peghiny said the composite airplane is expected to take to the skies for the first time by the end of the month.

Members of a technical team from Flight Design recently gathered at Continental Motors’ headquarters in Mobile, Alabama, for a weeklong session to get educated about the intricacies of the Continental IO-360-AF engine that Flight Design selected to power the C4. Like the airplane itself, the engine is in the process of certification, which Continental expects to have in hand by year-end. While the IO-360-AF will be rated to 210 horsepower, the version that will be installed in the C4 will produce up to 180 horsepower at 2,650 RPM, said Rhett Ross, president of Continental Motors.

The letters AF in the engine designation stands for alternative fuel. The engine is not designed for diesel fuel, but can be operated on leaded or unleaded fuels meeting the UL91 spec or higher. Flight Design plans to offer the C4 with a diesel engine option as well.

Anticipating the Part 23 rewrite, Flight Design selected an avionics package by Garmin named the Vision Touch. The system combines the certified GTN 750 GPS/navcom and GNC 255 navcom with the experimental G3X Touch PFD and MFD to take some cost out of the panel. Flight Design hopes to keep the price of the C4 below $250,000.

The plan was for the Vision Touch to be certified along with the airframe under the new regulations, but with the Part 23 rewrite now delayed by two years (http://www.flyingmag.com/find/part%2023), we asked Peghiny whether Flight Design would reconsider its avionics selection.

“The plan for the avionics is the same currently as EASA has indicated it will allow the CS-23 certification of the G3X Vision Touch under ELA along with the airframe,” Peghiny said. “We believe the FAA will accept this under reciprocity with supplemental testing.”