Flight Design Developing New 'Modular' Aircraft Family

 - April 11, 2019, 8:35 AM
Flight Design is planning to test fly this electric-powered plane, the F2e, as it works to bring to market the new F series "modular" family of general aviation aircraft.

German light aircraft manufacturer Flight Design yesterday introduced a new “modular” family of single-engine aircraft, the F series, which will range from ultralight and type-certified models to an electric-powered variant. On display this week at Aero Friedrichshafen 2019, the F series will feature a cabin that is a little wider than the company's CT series of light-sport and ultralight aircraft and will incorporate its “safety cell” technology.

Based on automobile industry designs, Flight Design's safety cell is intended to protect occupants in case of a crash by incorporating a crumple zone. The cabins will also be equipped with features such as cupholders, USB ports, armrests, and electrically adjustable seats.

Developed in concert with FuXiang Technologies, the aircraft family also incorporates a longer, one-piece wing with wing cuffs and spin-resistance capability, along with Amsafe airbags for the pilot and copilot. A 100-hp Rotax 912 iS engine will push the three-blade composite propeller. Garmin is supplying avionics, including its 10.6-inch G3X Touch, for the models.

The first of the family, the two-seat F2, will meet EASA 600-kg ultralight requirements and Flight Design expects to self-certify under ASTM standards in June. CS-23 VFR certification is anticipated to follow by the end of the year, with an IFR nod by mid-2020. The fuselage is designed to add an expansion behind the front seats to create a four-seater. That model, the F4, is expected to obtain both VFR and IFR certification in 2020.

Meanwhile, Flight Design plans to test fly an electric variant of the F2 later this month. The company is working with Siemens on the electric propulsion system, but Flight Design sales director Wolfgang Nitschmann said battery options are still being weighed for a future vehicle. The initial tests are designed to prove the concept of electric power for the F series, Nitschmann said.

Flight Design said the new family is designed to accommodate a range of propulsion types, also including hybrid and hydrogen.