Mooney Airplane is evaluating the Polish Aero AT-3 two-seater as a potential offering in the light-sport aircraft market expected to be created by the impending release of the US Sport Pilot rule. The company flight tested the aircraft in Poland last week.

Kerrville, Texas-based Mooney had planned to offer the Spanish GAC Toxo two-seater, but it is too fast and heavy to comply with the new light-sport regulations, says president Nelson Happy. Mooney is now working to certificate the all-composite Toxo under the US FAR 23 regulations governing general-aviation aircraft. This should take around two years, he says.

With predictions that the Sport Pilot rule will create a new market for several thousand two-seat recreational aircraft costing well under $100,000, Mooney is now looking for another suitable offering. After flight testing the "promising" all-metal AT-3, the company plans to evaluate several competing designs, says Happy.

Like the Toxo, the fixed-gear AT-3 has European JAR-VLA very-light aircraft certification, which provides a good starting point for US approval under the new light-sport aircraft rules, Happy says.

Source: Flight International