Andrzej Jeziorski/MUNICH

GERMAN AIRCRAFT manufacturer Extra-Flugzeugbau expects to conduct the maiden flight of its Extra EA400 touring aircraft by mid-March.

The company says that the aircraft is in a final round of ground tests leading up to its aerial debut. The exact date of the first flight depends on the weather.

The all-composite aircraft is a high-wing, T-tail, six-seater with a pressurised cabin powered by a single Teledyne Continental Voyager TSIOL-550-A piston engine, rated at 260kW (350hp).

Extra says that the liquid-cooled engine was chosen partly because it has good aerodynamic characteristics - allowing the propeller to be used as a speed brake in a steep descent by cutting the engine to idle at high speed.

The aircraft will be fitted with AlliedSignal Bendix/King avionics to instrument-flight-rules (IFR) standards, and will include an engine-monitoring device of Extra's own design, which will display important engine-parameters and store them for examination later. Extra aims to sell the aircraft at a basic price of DM1.3 million ($885,000). The EA400 is designed to US Federal Aviation Regulations part 23 criteria, although the simultaneous US/German certification will be carried out in two steps. The first step, to be completed in the middle of this year, will not cover operations under IFR or in icing conditions, nor the pressurised cabin. Full certification is expected in the fourth quarter.

The most important area for Extra is North America, where potential customers, are thinking of investing in new, single-engine, aircraft to replace old twins.

Source: Flight International