Pipistrel, the Slovenia company that has won the NASA CAFE Efficiency Challenge three years in a row, is now developing the Alpha Trainer, aimed squarely at flight schools.
The Alpha, based on the company’s Virus SW (pictured), will sport a price tag of about $83,000 (US), fully equipped.
“The name ‘Pipistrel Alpha Trainer’ describes the exact purpose of this new aircraft designed for LSA flying schools in countries that have the FAA LSA (or adaption of ASTM rules) categories,” officials said on the company’s website. “The aircraft has been designed with the essence of training as its primary design goal. Training has to start somewhere and just like the modern alphabet starts with the letter ‘A’ this new aircraft bears the name Alpha.”
Company officials said they noticed that over the last several years “customers have evolved from wanting basic entry level aircraft to more sophisticated glass cockpits with autopilot and every other conceivable addition. That’s great if you can afford it, but with the economy the way it is, most aircraft have been priced out of the market for an average person or flight school.”
That led to the development of the trainer at a cost substantially less than its competitors, company officials noted.
Designed specifically for flight schools, the Alpha’s main undercarriage, which is made of composite material, has been reinforced to handle the hardest landings even at MTOW, which provides for a full fuel payload of nearly 500 pounds, company officials explained, adding the new aircraft will be powered by the “ever reliable” Rotax 912 80-hp engine. The propeller is Pipistrel’s own design, a 63-inch, 2-blade fixed pitch propeller made of wood with composite protection.
The Alpha Trainer will sport a new wing design based on the Pipistrel Virus SW aircraft. With the redesigned wing the aircraft does not require airbrakes to land, further simplifying the cockpit controls for students, company officials said.
For more information: Pipistrel.si