Sonaca Adds Second Trainer with Glass Flight Deck

 - April 12, 2019, 3:09 AM
Sonaca is boosting production as it moves into a new factory and adds a second trainer variant, the Sonaca Trainer Pro, to its product line.

Less than year after Belgian manufacturer Sonaca Aircraft received EASA approval and handed over its first aircraft, the Sonaca 200 single-engine trainer, the company is rolling out a second version, the Sonaca 200 Trainer Pro, with a Garmin glass flight deck.

The two-place aluminum aircraft, equipped 115-hp BRP-Rotax 914 F engine that provides a maximum cruise speed of 115 knots, was designed as a low-cost option for the flight training community, with a price of €177,500 ($200,345). For the first version, Sonaca opted for analog instruments.

Driven by demand for a flat-panel, glass flight deck, Sonaca had immediately begun working on the Trainer Pro, which features Garmin G500 TXI EFIS and Garmin GTN 650 navigation instruments, along with a Honeywell KI 300 back-up instrument. Priced at 208,500 ($235,305), that version is anticipated to receive approval in the upcoming weeks.

The initial Sonaca 200 obtained EASA CS-VLA approval in June and the first few were handed over to South Brussels-based Belgian Flight School and Air Academy New CAG. These schools have collectively ordered 16 Sonaca 200s and placed options for eight of the Trainer Pro variant.

In all, Sonaca had captured nearly 50 orders for the aircraft leading up to Aero Friedrichshafen, with five delivered. But Sonaca next week will begin moving into a new 2,000-sq-m (21,528-sq-ft) factory, which CEO Harold van der Straten said will enable the company to boost production to 40 aircraft this year and 50 next year.

At the same time, the company is building up support, adding four service facilities in Belgium, France, and the UK. Next week, the company further is putting a new customer support platform online that enables operators to access all technical data necessary to maintain their aircraft, as well as order parts.