German company steps up sales drive for Czech-built piston single and mulls US market

German manufacturer WD Aircraft is stepping up efforts to secure additional European sales of its D4 Fascination composite piston single after securing European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification for the aircraft late last year.

EASA approved the very light aeroplanes-category (CS-VLA, formerly Joint Aviation Requirements JAR-VLA) aircraft in December, clearing the way for WD to market the Rotax 912 S-powered machine throughout Europe.

Countries previously had national regulations covering very light aircraft, with the Fascination being too heavy for some, including France and the UK. Anthony Hutton, managing director of UK distributor Hutton Aviation, says it expects "no problems" receiving a certificate of airworthiness from the UK Civil Aviation Authority, and expects test flights this year.

WDAircraft, based in the Bavarian town of Heubach, had to make around 40 changes to the original microlight design, already approved in several countries, says the company's chief engineer Boris K"lmel. The maximum take-off weight permitted under CS-VLA is 650kg (1,430lb), compared with 450kg under old German rules, allowing the company to more than double the fuel capacity from 80 litres (21USgal) stored in a centre tank to 170 litres stored in both wings. The increased fuel capacity pushes the Fascination's range to 2,000km (1,080nm) at a cruising speed of 140kt (260km/h).

Other changes include reinforced nose and main landing gear; a 100mm (4in) rearward shift in the wing; forward shift of the instrument panel; and creation of a 60kg baggage compartment, says K"lmel.

The aircraft is manufactured in Kaplice, Czech Republic and WD Aircraft is aiming for a production rate of around three to four a month this year. The €110,000 ($146,000) production aircraft will also be available as a €60,000 kit, Hutton says.

K"lmel says US Sportplane certification for the D4 Evolution is planned this year, with a simplified version of the Fascination also being considered for the US category.



Source: Flight International