When Continental Motors recently announced FAA Type Certification of its new alternative fuel powerplant, IO-360-AF, this encouraged Flight Design to move its test article C4 from the fabrication plant to its German headquarters in Kamenz, where it will undergo final tests leading to first flight of the new design.
Flight Design’s senior engineering staff is based in Kamenz, Germany, lead by Technical Director Oliver Reinhardt and C4 Project Lead Engineer Artem Izokh. Along with technicians, the engineers will launch final evaluations, including a ground vibration test. This method, commonly used by sailplane manufacturers who were early to embrace composite structures, allows verification of characteristics like control surface stability, company officials explain. Following the ground vibration tests and final preparations, Flight Design will proceed with initial flight tests.
Continental Motors’ IO-360-AF is the first in its class to be certified for alternative fuels, which will add flexibility for its customers, Flight Design officials note. In addition to 100LL avgas, C4 owners will be able to use 91UL avgas.
Continental’s IO-360 series is also the lightest of all Continental’s six-cylinder powerplants, which makes it a perfect solution for Flight Design’s C4 that extensively uses carbon fiber to reduce structural weight while increasing useful load and payload, Flight Design officials explain.
Flight Design will run the IO-360-AF engine at a maximum power output of 180 horsepower at 2550 RPM to permit quieter operation as needed to meet international noise standards. The newly certified powerplant boasts 2,200 hours Time Between Overhaul or TBO.
“We are very pleased with the close cooperation we have received from Continental Motors on the C4 project,” said Matthias Betsch, CEO of Flight Design GmbH. “The engine manufacturer has shown great care with our engineers for the C4 design, including a IO-360-AF training course at their headquarters in Mobile.”
Flight Design is a 25-year-old manufacturer based in Germany. The company remains the worldwide Light-Sport Aircraft market leader thanks to its CT series of aircraft. More than 1,800 of these aircraft are flying in 39 countries. In 2011, the German company unveiled its C4 four seat aircraft based on the CT technology.