Liberty Aerospace has completed flight tests of the XL-2 light aircraft, and expects US certification next month. Deliveries of the two-seater are to begin in August. Melbourne, Florida-based Liberty plans to deliver 10 aircraft this year, with production ramping up to 140 next year.

In a change of plans, Liberty will assemble the fixed-gear aircraft itself using carbonfibre-composite fuselages and metal wings supplied by new subcontractors who have yet to be publicly announced. "They are well-known companies - household names in aerospace," says president Tony Tiarks.

Final assembly will take less than 150h, and Tiarks says Liberty will be profitable "way before" it reaches its target production rate of one aircraft a day. The company has a backlog of more than 50 orders and will restart sales efforts after receiving US certification. Overseas deliveries will begin early in 2004.

Initial certification will be for visual flight rules operation, with follow-on instrument flight rules approval requiring no changes to the aircraft, Tiarks says. The XL-2 will be the first aircraft to be certificated with Teledyne Continental's full-authority digital engine control-equipped IOF-240 125hp (90kW) powerplant.

Source: Flight International