The new, certified four seater from Flight Design which has been named C4 made its first flight in time for the opening of the Aero Friedrichshafen show as promised last year by the manufacturer. The weekend after it took to the air on 9 April was spent in reviewing the initial results and preparing for this week’s event. Flight Design had started work on the C4 project in 2008 and Pilot has been following with interest the progress up to this landmark moment.

“The C4 really performed as expected,” reports 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 reports: “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 says enthusiastically!” “Flight Design engineers can work on reducing some friction in the controls, but leave the rest alone.”

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.

“We observed the C4 accelerate away from the C-172 chase plane during simulated approaches to landing and in simulated go-arounds,” says Peghiny, who observed the flight 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. 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.

“Very few first flights proceed through the entire test card. Yet we completed all of the points permitted under the EASA-established Flight Conditions as specified in our initial Permit to Fly authorisation.

“We are all exceedingly pleased to have reached this benchmark as forecast a few months back,” says Christian Wenger, a Flight Design corporate board member and procurement manager for the German manufacturer.

“Our whole team put in long hours and formed a cohesive team as they rallied behind the C4 first flight effort,” says Matthias Betsch, CEO of Flight Design. “All team members are very pleased with the results of the development effort.”

“We will release more data and will provide more detail on the C4 development schedule after AERO and Sun ‘n Fun,” says Peghiny. “Meanwhile, we are very pleased to show the actual plane at AERO.”

The prototype will continue development flight evaluations and will not be seen in the USA until later this year.

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