Flight Design C4 Makes First Flight

German four seater flies ahead of Aero 2015.

Flight Design conducted the first flight of the C4 prototype in Germany last Thursday, officially launching the test phase for the first general aviation airplane scheduled to be certified under new rules designed to improve safety and bring down the costs of future light aircraft.

Flight Design conducted the first flight at its headquarters in southern Germany on April 9, taking the C4 up for a 60-minute test hop ahead of the Aero Friedrichshafen show in Germany this week, flight test engineer Robert Adam told AvWeb.

Flight Design is accelerating the timeline of the four-seat C4 after the FAA pushed back the so-called Part 23 Rewrite, an endeavor to introduce new certification standards for light airplanes that is intended to cut development costs in half while making it easier for aircraft manufacturers to incorporate new technology.

Flight Design says it will certify the C4 under the new rules in Europe first, and then in the U.S. once the regulations are adopted here.

The C4 flies with non-TSO’d Garmin G3X avionics, allowing Flight Design to keep costs down while offering the latest technology. The airplane also will be certified with the new Continental IO-360-AF alternative fuel six-cylinder engine, which can run on 100LL avgas or 91UL, an unleaded aviation fuel sold in Europe.

Price of the C4 is targeted at $250,000 (in 2011 dollars), significantly below other new four-seat light general aviation airplanes such as the Cessna Skyhawk and Diamond DA40, which sell in the neighborhood of $400,000.

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