Wednesday, November 4, 2009

$50/hour Flight Training?

Holy Economics 101, Batman!
just sent out a release that caught my eye.
X-Air is the Bend, Oregon-based LSA manufacturer that makes an ultralight-style flivver directly targeted at those recreational flyers and wingabees (flight-dreaming wannabes, get it?) on a tuna sandwich budget.
The tube-and-fabric, fun-flying X-Air LS has a lot to offer for those less concerned with high-bucks style and more motivated by low-cost substance, in this case saving the Benjamins during flight training.
A new X-Air LS goes for around $60,000 and burns 4 gal/hr! That translates into low-cost flight training, as well as dirt-cheap recreational-flight renting or club/shared ownership flying.
The basic Sport Pilot license, with the minimum 20 in-flight training hour requirement, is already affordable when compared with a Private Pilot's license.
Now, students could find themselves spending 50 clams per hour instead of 200 in a Skyhawk. Cutting flight costs only increases the likelihood that students will fly more, or more often, making for better, safer pilots in the long run.
I flew the X-Air a year ago but we haven't run the pilot report in the mag yet...too many airplanes, too few pages. I'll hope to hop a ride in the LS at Sebring in Jan. 2010 and bring you the report.
The short tell is the X-Air does just fine working a good part of the LSA performance envelope, with a max cruise speed of 104 mph, 39 mph stall speed and a 574 lb. useful load.
---photo courtesy X-Air

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