A San Francisco-based start-up has relaunched a decade-old concept for a five-passenger, piston-powered aircraft called the CO50 Valkyrie and Valkyrie-X.

The formal launch on 12 November re-energises Cobalt founder David Loury’s pursuit of the sleek aircraft design featuring distinctive V-style vertical stabilisers and an aft-mounted pusher propeller.

“Ten years ago, I had a vision to disrupt the aviation industry with an innovative private aircraft that is not only technologically sound and safe but also design-centric and luxurious,” Loury says.

“Today, Cobalt is no longer just a prototype,” he adds. “It’s a world-class aircraft, complete with advanced safety, technology and modern design features.”

The two models are identical in appearance and performance, but are separated by certification and cost. The CO50 will be certificated as a private aircraft with a basic price of $699,000. The Valkyrie-X price tag begins at $595,000, and it comes with an experimental certificate.

Cobalt plans to begin delivering the CO50 in the summer of 2017. Home-built kits for the Valkyrie-X are expected to require a six-month production period.

The CO50 is now available for pre-orders after making a public debut in San Francisco.

The founder, Loury, is a aeronautics engineering graduate of Georgia Tech, with working experience at EADS. Previous investors in the project’s long evolution have included Noel Forgeard, a former chief executive of Airbus, and Henri Seydoux, the founder of commercial drone manufacturer Parrot.

The Valkyrie design, inspired by fighter aircraft, was shaped with the help of Maserati.

Cobalt has built four prototypes of the aircraft over the past decade.

The highly stylised design includes a cockpit door that opens by folding the top half towards the nose. Forward canards are positioned just behind the forward tip of the nose, augmenting the lift provided by a low-mounted wing with winglets.

Source: Flight Daily News