Oklahoma-based Quartz Mountain Aerospace, a start-up aircraft manufacturer that is building an updated, tricycle version of the 1940s-vintage Luscombe Sedan, has completed and flight tested four aircraft, with nine more aircraft on the assembly line.

The aircraft is powered by a Continental IO360ES piston engine, down-rated to 180hp (134kW) at 2550rpm, and driving a fixed-pitch propeller. Avionics include dual Garmin 430 GPS units.

Although the company earned the type certificate for the new model, the 11E, in December 2002, the US Federal Aviation Administration has not yet granted Quartz Mountain a production certificate, slowing the delivery process as the FAA must approve the airworthiness of each aircraft.

Miles Hoover, company test pilot and sales manager, says he expects the production certificate by the end of March, at which time he also expects to begin delivering the first aircraft.

Prices at the start will be 5% higher than previously offered, up to $199,500 from $189,500. Hoover says Quartz Mountain is negotiating the change with its primary customer, Global Aviation Partners, a company that leases aircraft to flight schools. GAP had purchased the first three years of production of the 11E, representing some 500 aircraft.

Hoover says the nearest competitor is Cessna, with two models of the Cessna 172 ranging in price from $220,000 to $250,000. "We'll outperform both of them," he insists.

Source: FlightGlobal.com