Sonaca Aircraft has started assembly of the first two Sonaca 200s, a single-engine two seat general aviation aircraft, which will be used for ground and flight tests to obtain EASA certification.
The first aircraft, which was assembled at Sonaca’s site in Belgium, has been entirely dedicated to ground tests.
“We tested the strength of the seats, seat belts and also the engine cradle and front leg by simulating rough or crosswind landings,” said Vincent Jaumotte, Flight Test Engineer for Sonaca Aircraft. “At the end of February, IABG, a center for aeronautical testing based in Germany and specializing in stress tests will conduct the wing stress tests.”
A second plane will be used for the flight tests, which are scheduled in April, he noted.
The new version of the SONACA 200 has been 80% modified, company officials said, to meet market requirements and EASA certification requirements.
The shape of the aircraft, the wing profile and the choice of materials have been maintained.
“We have significantly altered the structural resistance in order to obtain a 750 kg maximum takeoff mass with a 4.4G load factor, which is a 25% increase compared to the initial aircraft,” Jaumotte said.
Aircraft structures also have been reinforced.
“The main spars of the wing, the connection to the fuselage and the central spar have been redesigned and some aluminum alloys have been modified in order to take account of the aerodynamic loads, material fatigue, as well as corrosion-related aspects,” said Carl Mengdehl, Sonaca Aircraft Engineering & Certification Manager. “The changes also focus on strengthening the canopy arches, the landing gear, the vertical and horizontal empennage, including its connection to the fuselage, the propeller, the braking system, as well as the instrumentation and fuel system.”
The aircraft is designed for “professional and intense use” by flight schools and flying clubs, added Pierre Van Wetter, Sonaca Aircraft Pilot and Chief Commercial Officer.
Production of the SONACA 200 is scheduled to begin in June 2017. Base price of the aircraft will be 175,000 Euros (about $186,000 US).
Sonaca Aircraft is a new subsidiary of Sonaca. The company is owned by Sonaca, The Airplane Factory (TAF) and the co-founders of Sonaca Aircraft, Sophie Lancereau, Carl Mengdelh and Pierre Van Wetter.