Esterline CMC Electronics’ SmartDeck avionics suite has been selected by Cobalt Aircraft Industries, of Saguenay, Quebec, as standard on the new Co50 five-place, single-engine aircraft.
David Loury, founder and CEO, Cobalt Aircraft, said: “The reason we chose SmartDeck can be summed up in one word – simplicity. We have been working to develop an aircraft that will give owner-pilots better speed, comfort, safety and overall travel capabilities than any other single-engine aircraft currently on the market. The SmartDeck’s design philosophy mirrors our design philosophy for the Co50 — both were created to be easy-to-use. We took into account that our customers are not professional pilots. They don’t fly frequently, but they do need a travel tool they can use when the need arises.”
The all-composite Co50 is powered by a 350 horsepower, FADEC-equipped, TCM Continental TSIOF-550-D2B piston engine turning a three-blade pusher propeller. The aircraft is conservatively projected to deliver a maximum cruise speed of 250 knots at 25,000 feet and a maximum range of 1,150 nm, company officials said.
The Co50’s standard SmartDeck integrated flight control and display system will include two 12-inch primary flight and multifunction displays with dual Air Data/Altitude/Heading Reference Systems (ADAHRS) and WAAS GPS, a third 6.5-inch dedicated display for flight planning and radio management, as well as an integrated digital autopilot and audio controller. TAWS-B, TCAS/TAS, satellite weather, lightning detection and synthetic vision are also included, providing full situational awareness capabilities.
“These features are really a great help when flying IFR or in high-traffic or unfamiliar areas,” said Loury. “You want these systems to do much of the work for you and not the contrary. The Co50 is designed to be easy to use, even for low-time pilots. The same can be said for SmartDeck.”
The first Co50 prototype has undergone high-speed taxi testing and is now entering the initial phases of its development flight test program.
Loury added, “We’ve been working closely with Transport Canada for the past year and a half. We’ve been actively exchanging information on the aircraft to meet Part 23 requirements. We are confident that once we begin the actual certification program flights with Transport Canada, we will be able to finish the program in 18-24 months.”