Flight Design Completed First Flight of New C4
Last fall, Flight Design GmbH, manufacturer of the popular CT-series of Light-Sport Aircraft, promised to fly its new, certified four seater called C4 by the opening of the Aero Friedrichshafen show. On Friday, April 9th, the development team achieved their goal. The weekend was spent reviewing initial results (see below) and preparing to set up at the event that start April 15th.
“The C4 really performed as expected,” reported Tom Peghiny, President of Flight Design USA, importer of the German company’s products and test flight director for the C4 development. Peghiny flew alongside the C4 non-conforming prototype. “It appeared and test pilot Damian Hischier confirmed that the C4 is stable about all axes.”
Hischier also reported, “The spiral stability of C4 is good and its directional stability is good.” While noting that engine operating temperatures were acceptable he acknowledged that further work may be necessary for operations in the hottest climates. “But don’t change a thing aerodynamically,” Hischier enthused! Engine temperatures will be remedied primarily with cowl changes focused on cooling, yet Flight Design is pleased with the Continental IO-360-AF engine that performed very well.
“Flight Design engineers can work on reducing some friction in the controls,” Hischier noted, “but leave the rest alone.” Most prototype airplanes go through refinements after the initial flight verifications even while most of the group working to achieve the first flight were pleased that the new airplane performed so well. “We observed the C4 accelerate away from the C-172 chase plane during simulated approaches to landing and in simulated go-arounds,” commented Peghiny, observing from the Cessna. “I could also see that during the 30 degree bank turns the test pilot needed no control correction and he reported that pitch forces were light,” added Peghiny. “The plane appeared to be on rails, it looked very stable. Damian said he was comfortable getting close to us for the photos and videos shot during the maiden flight.” On board avionics are supplied by Garmin with the C3X Touch augmented with TSO analog instruments. Garmin has become a vital partner to Flight Design as C4 moves forward.
“Very few first flights proceed through the entire test card,” explained flight director Peghiny. “Yet we completed all of the points permitted under the EASA-established Flight Conditions as specified in our initial Permit to Fly authorization.” “We are all exceedingly pleased to have reached this benchmark as forecast a few months back,” said Christian Wenger, a Flight Design corporate board member and procurement manager for the German manufacturer. “This is going to make for a very enjoyable show for us.” Wenger spoke to early arriving media reporters as he lead the team positioning the test article C4 at the front of the company’s display in Hall B-1 of the Aero Friedrichshafen show. “Our whole team put in long hours and formed a cohesive team as they rallied behind the C4 first flight effort,” said Matthias Betsch, CEO of Flight Design. “All team members are very pleased with the results of the development effort.” Flight Design has been at work on the C4 project since 2011. “In coming days and weeks, we will add more details about this project,” added Betsch. “For now, part of our team is working to prepare the C4 for display at Aero while engineers like Technical Director Oliver Reinhardt remain at headquarters preparing the next steps in the development project. “We will release more data and will provide more detail on the C4 development schedule after we get through Aero and Sun ‘n Fun,” Peghiny said. The two important airshows, one in Europe and one in the USA, run nearly back to back starting Wednesday April 15th, 2015. “Meanwhile, we are very pleased to show the actual plane at Aero.” The prototype will immediately continue development flight evaluations and will not be seen in the USA until later this year.
Preliminary flight data follows…