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French connection

A classy trainer is coming to the US market

Elixir Aircraft, based in La Rochelle, France, is currently waiting for its FAA Part 23 certification, which, according to Mike Tonkin, Elixir’s head of worldwide sales, is “in the hands of the FAA.”

The Elixir booth at this year's Aero convention in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Photo by Sylvia Horne.

The manufacturer of the versatile, sleek aircraft is partnering with Sarasota, Florida-based flight school Cirrus Aviation (no connection with Cirrus Aircraft) and once the aircraft is certified will deliver 10, staggered over several years, to the flight school for flight training. David Cattin, the owner of Cirrus Aviation, can’t wait. “The aircraft is the ideal trainer, it offers great visibility, maintenance is very simple due to easy access to all components, it is spin-resistant and almost impossible to stall.”

In June 2023, the flight school Sierra Charlie Aviation in Scottsdale, Arizona, signed up for 50 aircraft with an option for 50 more. Luke Ormsby, aviator program director at the flight school, echoed Cattin’s sentiments. “This aircraft has been developed and built for flight training, it’s a clean sheet design, and easy to maintain.” He also pointed out that the Elixir comes equipped with a ballistic recovery parachute.

On the show floor at Aero Friedrichshafen in April this year, Elixir’s three aircraft stood out. They sport huge canopies, pleasing lines, a T-tail, and glossy wings with upswept tips—a far cry from aircraft designed 50 years ago.

“The wing is a one-piece component,” said Cyril Champenois, co-founder of the company. He explained that thanks to using OneShot carbon, in which airframe components are created in large sections, the Elixir is composed of just nine parts. It’s a technique that’s commonly used in sailboat manufacturing. There are no rivets and no glue, which eliminates potential decay or corrosion. This means the single-piece wing structure also acts as a spar, carrying  the weight of the airframe including fuel in Kevlar-clad cells. In case of damage to a component, most maintenance centers know how to fix hangar dings, but repairing “a more extensive damage would probably require Elixir advice,” said Tonkin. Incidentally, Elixir is in talks with the Sarasota airport about the construction of a final assembly plant.

Depending on the choice of engine and instruments, projected prices range from $300,000 for the entry model powered by a Rotax 912iS engine to $400,000 for the more advanced version with a Rotax 915iS turbocharged engine and a full Garmin glass cockpit. The actual pricing will be determined at the time of the U.S. certification.

And as if that’s not enough, Elixir said it is working on a turboprop variant, which will use a Turbotech engine  capable of using diesel or biofuels.

Sylvia Schneider Horne
Digital Media Editor
Sylvia Schneider Horne is a digital media editor for AOPA's eMedia division.
Topics: Single-Engine Piston, Flight School

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