Originally meant for recreational pilots, the LH-10 Ellipse is finding municipal and even defence customers. It’s at Farnborough for the first time, and LH Aviation sales manager Jean-Charles Devynck looking for more customers.
Resembling the BD-5 minijet, the Ellipse is aimed at “someone who wants to travel very quickly and economically, and land on any field”, Devynck says. “Even at 200kt, you only consume 20 litres per hour.”
Elipse’s pusher propeller is turned by a 100shp Rotax 912 engine. Its power is stretched into a broad speed range, says test pilot Remi Artuso. “It's very manageable, very easy, and a very steady aircraft,” he says, adding that it will be rated for level 1 aerobatics. “There is no noise, because the engine is in back,” he adds. The canopy allows great vision above, and the low-wing is well behind the two-seat cockpit to allow unobstructed views below.
The Ellipse is made in Melun, France, primarily as a kit, for €45,000. With engine, avionics and propeller that rises to €95,000, and full assembly adds €15,000. Orders totaled 39 on Sunday, with the first customer delivery to Iran by November.
Approval as a homebuilt kit is being sought in the US rather than as a light sport aircraft, as the Ellipse exceeds that category's speed limit.
The silver prototype is small and slender, weighing 260kg empty, with a MTOM of 500kg. First flight was in September. “We made the flutter test, and we are just finishing the flight testing,” says Devynck. Military training and surveillance are missions of some customers, he states, and deliveries are set for Brazil, the UK, France and elsewhere.
Starting in late 2009, five aircraft per year will be sent to Foxtrot Aviation and used for its Mediterranean Female Flight. Nineteen nations bordering that sea will be represented at up to 60 events each year, with a pilot and typical citizen paired for the flights.
"We want this aircraft to be an ambassador for the emancipation of women in the Mediterranean, especially in the Muslim countries," Devynck explains.