Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Purpose-built LSA

Another LSA (and another from Czech Republic!) is about to land on our shores.  It'll be featured in my Cool Stuff overview story in the June issue of P&P, but here's a sneak preview of the cute little low wing, and why I think it could be a winner for potential owners.
It's called Corbi Air Alto 100.
Two veterans of the sport aircraft biz - Dan Coffey and Ron Corbi - have extensive backgrounds in sport aircraft maintenance and marketing.  They saw through direct experience that many LSA had weak points that came out after extensive use in the field: insufficiently sturdy nosegear, cheap foreign tires (that were also a problem to reorder quickly).
So they went to an established Czech manufacturer (Direct Fly) and asked them if they'd be willing to update their four-year-popular Euro bird with American components for ASTM-certification as an S-LSA for the states. 
Coffey’s and Corbi’s approach might be called “pre-emptive” maintenance -  they intend to design out the very things that tend to fail in LSA. 
“Our focus with the Alto is to enhance the ‘maintainability’ of the airplane,” Coffey told me in a lengthy chat at Sun 'n Fun.
“We’ve added things like American-made Matco wheels and brakes, bucked rivets to replace pop rivets in high-stress areas, Vertical Power’s electronic electrical system, and the Approach Hub avionics wiring system for plug-and-play component upgrades.”
Another good idea here is to have as many quickly available U.S.- made parts as possible to make sure no flight school or owner is ever down for long.
Another feature: Alto’s canopy slides forward for easy access to the back of the panel.
Look for the cute Globe Swift-like Alto to be ASTM-approved and shipping by year’s end.
And get this price: $99,995, which includes a Dynon Skyview EFIS!

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