Welcome to the Pipistrel Aircraft update for November/December 2011 and what an exciting newsletter!
In keeping with Pipistrel’s tradition of continuing evolution, quality, high tech manufacturing and now most importantly a fantastic price, Pipistrel is proud to announce the release of our new aircraft, the Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER.
The name “Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER” describes the exact purpose of this exciting new aircraft designed for Light Sport Aircraft Flying Schools in markets and countries which have the FAA-LSA (or adaptation of ASTM rules) categories.
The aircraft has been designed with the “essence of training” as its primary design goal; training has to start somewhere, just like the modern alphabet starts with the letter “A” this new aircraft bears the name ALPHA, the ALPHA TRAINER to be exact.
Times have been changing; we have noticed over the last several years that customers have evolved from basic entry level aircraft to more sophisticated glass everything with autopilot and every other conceivable addition. Great if you can afford it but with the economy the way it is most aircraft have been priced from the marketplace for the average person or flight school.
In cooperation with Pipistrel we have developed an entirely new aircraft, a completely new approach to flight training and at a cost nearly half that of our competitors.
Before we get into the amazingly affordable price let’s talk about some of the exciting features.
The new ALPHA TRAINER is an aircraft which is affordable to acquire, it is economical to maintain and we believe no other LSA training aircraft is as cheap to run as the new Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER with its frugal operating costs.
Let’s list what Pipistrel believe an LSA training aircraft should be:
- It must be strong and easy to fly for beginner students
- It must have benign stall characteristics for the training market with no flying surprises
- It must be affordable and easy to operate, maintain and repair
- It must be capable of doing circuits all day long in all conditions including excessive heat well above 100°F
- It must have good ventilation and heating when required
- It must have approved strobes and lighting
- It must have a quiet cockpit
- It must have guaranteed access to reliable spare parts supply to keep the aircraft on the flight line
- It must have reasonable range for cross-country flight training
- It must be easy to service daily and refuel
- It must have a ballistic parachute system
- It must have a durable finish for outdoor storage
- It must have good brakes for the odd ‘urgent occasion’
- It must have dual flight controls, easy and quickly adjustable for different sized people
- It must have an expected long operating life
- It must be tricycle configuration with steerable nose wheel
- It must have easy cockpit access even for elderly students
- And did I say affordable to operate ?
Extensive market research and evaluation has given Pipistrel this wish list for the perfect training aircraft and we have really delivered, providing a fully optioned and approved training aircraft at a very reasonable cost with the lowest running costs in the industry.
Who is Pipistrel some of you may be asking ?
Pipistrel is the leading light aircraft manufacturer established in Europe for over 25 years, winner of the world air games, and winner of the NASA CAFÉ challenge 3 times in a row (including winner of $1.375 Million – the largest prize ever awarded for efficiency in flight) and you may even have heard about our aircraft flying around the globe without assistance. Pipistrel is not only the perfect choice for adventurers and advanced pilots but it is now the choice for the training market as well.
Let’s look at the changes Pipistrel has made to the new ALPHA TRAINER model and the philosophy behind their changes.
Undercarriage, the main undercarriage which is made of composite material is beefed up for a MTOW which yields a full fuel payload of nearly 500 pounds, it is strong and durable and capable of accepting the bad the landings made by new students. The new nose leg is 2 inches shorter lowering the nose and improving the visibility during taxi. Propeller clearance is not sacrificed because the Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER uses a smaller 63” diameter fixed pitch propeller.
The Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER aircraft has a new 15 gallon fuel tank. 15 gallons does not sound like much when you are talking about conventional aircraft, but Pipistrel is not a conventional aircraft. In reality 15 gallons is more than enough for the ALPHA TRAINER. The fuel tank now has a large opening which means it can be filled directly from fast flow avgas pumps which are at the large majority of our airfields. (It is still however our recommendation to run ethanol-free auto fuel as per Rotax recommendations for the maximum engine life and the obvious cost savings.) The 15 gallons capacity will give the Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER aircraft at least 400 miles range with reserves at normal cruise speeds of just under 110 knots. In the training role doing circuits the aircraft will be using less than 2.5 gallons per hour, effectively giving you 5 hours endurance from just 15 gallons of fuel.
The Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER is fitted with the ever reliable Rotax 80 hp engine. While some may question whether 80 hp is enough, those familiar with Pipistrel know that our designs maximize performance on minimum power. In fact until recently Pipistrel aircraft were only supplied with the Rotax 80 hp engine, this was enough for well over 1000 fpm climb rate at maximum weight and cruise speeds of 125 in the ALPHA’S sister aircraft the Pipistrel Virus. The Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER has a slower cruise of 108 knots because it’s designed to fit in the LSA category but it will still achieve the same exciting climb rates.
The Rotax 80 hp engine is an ideal choice for a training aircraft, it is smooth and reliable, it is frugal with the fuel and the 2000 hour/15 year TBO is easily achievable. The Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER is manufactured from state-of-the-art composites and has an empty weight 100 pounds less than most competitors’ aircraft. This is one of the reasons why the Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER can offer such good performance and economy.
Durability in the training market requires careful planning, for this reason Pipistrel have chosen to supply the Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER with extra heavy-duty seat fabric, the wheel spats are also removed from this aircraft meaning it’s impossible for a student to break them getting in and out and in the unlikely event of a puncture the wheel can be replaced in around 2 minutes, again design features helping to keep the Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER in the air and earning you money rather than being in the repair shop.
The Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER has a new wing design based on the already successful and proven Pipistrel Virus SW aircraft. With the redesigned wing the aircraft does not require airbrakes to land, further simplifying the cockpit controls for students. The new wings feature redesigned flaperons which now have 25° of flap travel making short field landings a breeze.
The new propeller for the Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER is Pipistrel’s own design, CNC machined in house it’s manufactured from wood and is then protected in a composite covering including leading edge protection which is then painted. Being a wooden propeller there is very little vibration which contributes towards the smooth running of the aircraft, a composite covering makes a propeller very durable offering years of use in a normal training environment.
The Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER has a luggage rack for storage of tie downs and ropes, water bottles, first aid kit and other accessories; access to the storage area is through the cockpit seats which fold forward to offer easy and unrestricted access. There are also two large pockets on the sides of the instrument panel, ideal for storing maps and water bottles during flight.
The brakes have been redesigned and simplified for the Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER offering exceptional braking performance on even short airfields. The directly steerable nose wheel can easily turn the aircraft on a dime and the brake shoes can be replaced in less than 15 minutes keeping your maintenance cost down.
The price may be inexpensive but we have not spared any of the Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER options.
Features… Yes there are plenty.
- Firstly, the EFIS instrument panel is gone, replaced by conventional aircraft instruments all clearly labelled with the correct colour coded speeds and temperatures in a traditional and familiar training format
- The aircraft is supplied in nosewheel only configuration for lower insurance costs and easier student training
- The new 15 gallon fuel tank has a bigger tank opening to accept the larger aviation fuel pumps
- Large instrument panel for fitting additional instruments if required
- Solid luggage rack behind the seats
- Wingtip NAV, strobe lights and landing light (LED) 2.5 times brighter than FAA standards
- Ballistic rescue system GRS 6/473 SD
- Oil check door on top engine cover
- 2 blade fixed pitch propeller, 63’’ diameter wood with composite protection and spinner
- Air speed indicator diameter 3 1/8″ 0-180 Kts
- Altimeter diameter 3 1/8″ 0-20.000 ft
- Vertical Speed Indicator diameter 3 1/8″ ± 1000 fpm
- Engine instruments (tacho, engine hour counter, oil press & temp, CHT, EGT, fuel quantity)
- GPS Garmin Aera 500 + AirGizmo
- Radio ICOM IC A210 with intercom, aerial and, 2 headsets
- Transponder Garmin GTX 327 with altitude encoder and antenna
- 34′ 6″ wing-span fits most T hangers
- Outside surfaces painted in white UV-resistant acrylic, cabin interior composite surfaces in grey
- Cabin upholstery in hard wearing blue fabric with padded spar cover
- Ergonomic seats with adjustable head rests
- 3 point “schroth” seat belts
- Sliding photo window on the right door
- Cabin ventilation with adjustable intake on left door
- Noise reducing firewall
- Dual control sticks and dual rudder pedals
- 2 stage positive flaperons up to 25° deflection
- Elevator trim
- In-flight adjustable pedals for both pilot & co-pilot
- UV protected, scratch resistant Lexan windshield
- Three point door locking
- Fixed composite landing gear, heavy-duty training main wheels and brakes
- Hydraulic disk brakes on the main wheels
- Steerable nose wheel
- Tie-down points on wings and tail
- Fuel tank 15 Gallons (60 Litres) with bigger filler neck
- Fuel gasculator with drain sump
- Cabin heating system
- ELT Kannad 406 AF – Compact (406 MHz)
- Rotax 912 UL2 80 hp, 4 cylinder 4 stroke engine with 2 carburettors, integrated gearbox etc
- Electric starter
- High capacity, easy to replace dry-type 12V battery
- Modular electric panel system with fuses on primary and secondary circuits
- Rotax regulator-rectifier
- All throttle control cables in Teflon
- 12V accessory plug
- Large instrument panel with master switch, avionics switch, switches with automatic fuses and warning lights, magneto switches, starter button and battery quick disconnect switch
- Basic Rotax toolkit
- Basic aircraft spare parts kit
Now the exciting part… The cost
At €61,500 this would be amazing value but as a special offer to flying schools and release customers we are going to make this aircraft available at an introductory special of just €58,000 plus shipping from the factory. First deliveries will start arriving in April 2012 and your order can be secured with just a $15,000 USD deposit.
Based on today’s exchange rates (11/11/11) €58,000 roughly converts to $78,900 USD.
Adding delivery, FAA registration and inspection fees we believe the aircraft will run at around $83,000 USD !
Looking at the features, quality, performance, and economy, the new Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER represents the best value in a composite LSA for the training market.
Working widely with several finance companies and business planers we have developed a complete turnkey solution for a start-up training school business, or for an existing training school looking to modernize the fleet while cutting current operating costs in half.
Are you looking to improve the return on investment for your flight school? The Pipistrel ALPHA TRAINER may be the perfect solution.
Safe flying, Michael Coates