Kate Sarsfield/LONDON

Two US companies have agreed to resume the manufacture of the Luscombe 8 light aircraft, 36 years after production of the piston single was halted.

Renaissance Aircraft of Monkton, Maryland, will build the aircraft for US certification, while the Don Luscombe Aviation History Foundation (DLAHF) will allow access to the original Luscombe 8F which is on display in their museum in Phoenix, Arizona. As part of the licensing agreement, the Foundation will also provide components and parts.

Renaissance has linked with Canadian light-aircraft manufacturer Zenair and Czech Aircraft Works of the Czech Republic. Zenair will assemble the first four aircraft and provide training for Czech Aircraft Works' engineers. Manufacture will then be transferred to the Czech company.

The US company is also looking for investors to fund the programme and claims to have received "a great deal of interest from a number of private individuals".

The 8F was conceived by Luscombe in 1931, and by the time Silvair ceased production in 1961,around 7,500 aircraft had been built. "It was a very successful aircraft - Cessna copied the design with their 120 and 140 series," says DLAHF president Doug Combs. "There are more than 2,500 aircraft flying today," he adds.

The Luscombe 8F will be aimed at training companies and private buyers. "Given the current lack of reasonably priced certified two-seat aircraft and the age of the existing fleet, we think the aircraft will be generally well received," says Renaissance.

The aircraft will be priced at between $50,000 and $70,000 and will be powered by either a Textron Lycoming 0-320 or Czech-built 110kW (145hp) HP Walter M-32. "With the Lycoming, the aircraft will be capable of speeds of 125kt [235km/h], and with the Walter, around 105kt," says Combs.

Source: Flight International