Colombian trainer nears first flight

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This story is sourced from Flight International
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Later this month Colombia's state-owned aeronautical company CIAC is expected to conclude construction of the prototype Synergy ab initio trainer for the Colombian air force, in anticipation of a maiden flight in late September.

The Textron Lycoming IO-390-powered Synergy is an extensively modified Lancair Legacy FG, featuring 15% greater a wing area and glass cockpit avionics.

The Lancair Legacy FG was selected as the basis for the Colombian air force's future primary trainer in October 2008 after being shortlisted alongside the Pulsar XP, leading to contract signing in February of the following year.

Oregon-based Lancair International provided jigs, molds and technical support - as well as composite training for Colombian personnel. CIAC plans to manufacture 24 production units of the Synergy at an initial rate of one a month, working up to two units a month by the second half of 2011.

The 24 production Synergy trainers are due to replace the 13 Cessna T-41D Mescaleros that remain from a fleet of 30 aircraft in 1968, which are employed as primary trainers at the Colombian air force's flight training school in Cali.

The air force began seeking a T-41D replacement in 2007, for local manufacture. Local sources indicate CIAC may look to export regionally a civilianised version of the Synergy.

CIAC's main job is to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the Colombian air force, but in addition to the Synergy project it is developing an indigenously designed unmanned systems.

With Embraer's assistance, CIAC is also modernising the air force's fleet of T-27 Tucanos, installing new avionics, new wing panels and strengthening the landing gear.