Elixir Aircraft Signs Mermoz Academy Order, Plans Sarasota Assembly in Florida

The French manufacturer has gone from concept to delivering 10 aircraft in just seven years.

At AERO 2023, the Elixir team toasted the agreement with Mermoz Academy in France to purchase 6 of its 100 hp training aircraft. [Credit: Julie Boatman]

From zero to delivering aircraft in just seven years, Elixir Aircraft can be justifiably proud of its success. But this is only the beginning for the French light aircraft manufacturer, which presented its latest progress—and a new sales agreement signed—at AERO 2023 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, on April 19.

Elixir co-founder, CMO, and COO Cyril Champenois delivered the update at a press briefing in which he confirmed the company’s engineering origins, and its proactive timeline starting in 2015. “At that time, we created the company with 50,000 euros,” said Champenois. “After seven years we are now almost 100 employees in the company, and we are growing fast. After two years to conceive the design for the Elixir, three years to certify it, and seven years [total] to deliver the first aircraft, we are now reaching 70 firm orders for our aircraft.”

“At the moment we have 14 jobs open…at the GAMA conference we were discussing the workforce challenges we are facing, and we are struggling to hire.” Though this has been a challenge, Elixir still managed to deliver its first 10 units in 2022, beginning with the first shipment in February 2022.

A Minimum of Parts

The low-wing, two-seater is powered by the 100 hp Rotax 912is, well-suited to the training mission, certified under EASA CS-23 and undergoing FAA validation. It features a simple cockpit in its most cost-effective version, though it’s still capable enough for IFR training. 

What sets the airframe apart is its minimum of parts—the composite structure has been designed from OneShot carbon fiber components, and has no spar, ribs, or stringers. The low parts count not only helps achieve manufacturing efficiencies but also drives a lower operating cost, as little as $37/hour. Robust landing gear also serves well for student laps around the pattern. A BRS ballistic parachute recovery system comes standard.

Elixir plans another model, powered by the 140 hp Rotax 915 series, and targeted to private buyers on an IFR mission. It will feature a full glass cockpit as well.

Sales to Mermoz Academy

Elixir announced it has just signed an agreement with Mermoz Academy, one of the largest aviation training organizations in France, for a total of 6 aircraft. Mermoz’ Stephane Meyer was on hand to confirm the arrangement, which builds on the success it has had selling the company’s first model to flight schools on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

“We are demonstrating that we are able to attract big, professional [academies] to our aircraft,” said Champenois. “Big challenges faced by the flight school are solved by this new generation of aircraft, especially regarding fuel consumption and the operating cost and the environmental impact.”

Those orders add to ones posted by early U.S. partner Cirrus Aviation in Sarasota, Florida, which has a total of 10 aircraft on order, to be delivered over the course of 5 years. Cirrus has also been instrumental in another element of Elixir’s planned growth: a U.S. facility for assembly of kits imported from the company's main base in La Rochelle, France. 

“Knowing that the market is mainly in the U.S., we are already working on the opening of facilities in Florida, where we will assemble kits that will be shipped from France and be reassembled there. As you know, 60 to 70 percent of the market is in the U.S. and we have to be there.”

Champenois also alluded to upcoming financing that will help secure the company’s needed expansion at the La Rochelle-Île-de-Ré Airport (LFBH).

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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