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Flight Design electrified

Flight Design, maker of the bestselling CTLS series of light sport aircraft, mounted a Siemens motor on the new F2 to create an electric edition for certification. The F2e made its public flight debut this month in Germany.

The electric F2e from Flight Design will have two seats, and the same airframe as the four-seat F4 and two-seat F2 models, though it will not be able to qualify as a light sport aircraft because current regulations do not allow for electric LSAs. Photo courtesy of Flight Design.

The June 5 debut at the airport near Strausberg, Germany, followed a maiden flight on May 29 that was pronounced a “complete success” by the company. Tom Peghiny, president of Flight Design USA, said market entry of Flight Design’s first electric aircraft is still about a year and a half away, slated to follow certification of the new, Rotax-powered F4 and F2 models announced in April.

Peghiny said the Rotax version of the F2 is currently in flight testing in the Czech Republic, and the F4 program is also underway. That program’s staff was fully assembled as of June 25, composed of 12 engineers from Germany, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, and the United States, Peghiny said. The F4 development program is also fully funded, Peghiny added, and the team hopes to bring this new, four-seat aircraft, expected to be priced around $300,000, to EAA AirVenture in 2020.

The F2 and F4 variants will share the same airframe, an all-composite structure that includes a cabin that will be “two and a half times stronger than any we’ve built before,” Peghiny said. That’s part of a suite of safety features that will give the new F-series aircraft a lot in common with modern race cars, which use high-strength components engineered to absorb and deflect energy away from the occupant(s) in a crash. In the case of the F2 and F4 aircraft, that integrated “safety cell” will be supplemented by AmSafe airbags and a BRS full-airframe parachute to further facilitate energy dissipation and protect pilots and passengers.

Peghiny said the certified aircraft being developed will add to Flight Design’s popular line of light sport aircraft, not replace them. The CT-series LSA models remain the most popular in the United States, according to data compiled by Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association. Peghiny said the CT Super Sport line is now available to U.S. customers, offering a lower-cost alternative to the CTLS series with simplified avionics and a price around $135,000 for typical equipment, compared to the $170,000 cost of a CTLS model with typical equipment. (Flight Design offers a detailed configuration and pricing tool online.)

The F2 with Rotax power is expected to begin deliveries in October following approval as a light sport aircraft. The F2e, powered by a Siemens motor, will be the last of the new models certified, since there is currently no pathway for light sport aircraft to be approved with electric propulsion. The F2e will be certified, and since it will have two seats and the same airframe as the F4 (a four-seater), there will be “lots of room for batteries,” Peghiny noted.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Managing Editor-Digital Media
Digital Media Managing Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.
Topics: Electric

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