German light-sport manufacturer Flight Design (Booth MD-027) updated Sun ’n’ Fun show attendees on the progress of its four-place C4 airframe, as well as announced expansion plans for manufacturing and assembly facilities in Asia and the U.S.
The company, which has delivered more than 2,000 aircraft around the world over the past 25 years, has worked with Garmin to develop its own Flight Design Garmin Vision Touch avionics for the new C4, its first four-place aircraft, expected to cost $250,000, which is currently in testing.
Garmin’s Jim Alpiser, director of aviation aftermarket sales, told AIN, “[Flight Design] challenged us to design a product that would work for their aircraft. The Vision Touch suite is designed for this aircraft.” Based around Garmin’s G3X touchscreens, the Vision Touch suite has two widescreens capable of synthetic vision, combined with a Garmin 750, Garmin GNC 255 nav/com, garmin 305 autopilot, and a Garmin 350 audio panel. The EFIS are augmented by a RC Allen solid-state attitude indicator and directional gyro. “It’s an avionics suite for pilots transitioning to glass and flight school use,” said Alpiser. Questions about mixing TSO‘d with non-TSO‘d avionics in a Part 23 aircraft were met with assurances that EASA has already accepted the mix under the ELA proposal, and that certification shouldn’t be a problem under the new Part 23 rules currently in rewrite.
In other C4 news Flight Design company director Christian Wenger noted that the C4 airframe includes a cockpit safety zone that has passed destructive testing, along with the aircraft wing, both achieving required certification standards. A parallel proof-of-concept C4 should be flying by summer.
Flight Design U.S. president Tom Peghiny updated the company’s Asian production outreach, noting that it is setting up a second production line with Taiwan-based GSEO/AeroJones (a supplier to Apple and Intel), which will supply the Asian and U.S. market with aircraft. Peghiny also announced a newly formed company, Flight Design Americas, which will do the final assembly for the C4 in the U.S. “The C4 is made of 60-percent U.S. manufacturered parts, so we’ve secured property in Newport, Vermont, on the airport, for final assembly of the aircraft,” he said. “We plan to hire up to 100 employees in the first years of operation,” he continued.
The Vermont location is strategically close to the Montreal, Canada, port of entry for Flight Design parts that ship from Hamburg, Germany.