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Update on C4 (Delayed a year)


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April 9, 2013

Dear Flight Design C4 Order Holder,


All of us at Flight Design wish to express our thanks to you for joining an elite group of forward-thinking aviation enthusiasts who have placed “Early Bird” orders for Flight Design’s exciting, new C4 currently under development. While many in the aviation community have recognized the game-changing combination of performance, comfort and value to be found in the C4, you have stepped forward in a tangible way with your “Early Bird” order to be among the first to take delivery of a new C4 and realize the substantial benefits that will be in store when you fly this amazing aircraft. For this commitment and support we sincerely thank you.


Because of your special interest and involvement with the C4, we wanted you to be the first to know of a recent decision to move back the C4’s development schedule to coordinate with and take fuller advantage of important, substantial changes in aircraft certification criteria now being jointly developed by the FAA and industry leaders. Specifically, Flight Design is now planning the first flight of the C4 proof-of-concept aircraft around April, 2014, with certification by EASA and FAA to follow within 12-18 months. Deliveries will start immediately in conjunction with certification attainment.


You may already be aware, but we would like to provide further insight into the major, fundamental overhaul that is now underway within the FAA, in conjunction with industry and other authorities, to redefine and rationalize the certification criteria for FAR Part 23 aircraft, which will include the C4.


For many years now, it has been widely recognized within the FAA and throughout the industry that these regulations, in particular FAR 23, had become overgrown, bloated and cumbersome as well as increasingly difficult and expensive for aircraft manufacturers to gain compliance. In addition, it became evident our current regulations were no longer serving the purpose for which they were intended, to promote safety. Rather, these excessive and outdated regulations served to diminish the overall level of safety while also adding excessive costs on manufacturers which were being passed along to consumers in the form of rapidly rising prices for new aircraft. This has resulted in fewer and fewer new aircraft being developed and sold, these being the very aircraft that employ the latest and best technologies and that have the greatest potential to reduce the workload on the pilot, provide enhanced information pertinent to the flight and to increase the overall margin of safety. The bottom line realization is that by modernizing and streamlining the certification criteria, while keeping all that is necessary to maintain safe and competent aircraft design standards, the certification costs can be substantially lowered. This will in turnresult in an increased volume of new, modern aircraft employing the latest safety enhancing technologies available at lower costs and sold in greater numbers….leading to the achievement of the ultimate goal of a higher level of overall safety. Indeed, the goal as expressed as the rallying call for this key initiative by the FAA and industry groups is; “DOUBLE the level of safety and reduce certification costs by HALF”


In late 2011, the FAA formed a working group known as FAA Part 23 ARC (Aviation Rulemaking Committee) to determine how to best meet these stated goals. Simultaneously, the ASTM, following on their notable efforts in achieving industry consensus standards endorsed by the FAA covering Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), formed the F44 Committee to support and work together with the FAA on overhauling and vastly improving the Part 23 certification process. These groups worked on a “fast track” schedule during 2012, meeting every 4-6 weeks, to seize this opportunity and meet the goals using all available resources. Top management personnelfrom Flight Design, namely Matthias Betsch, CEO; Oliver Reinhardt, Technical Director & Head of Airworthiness and Tom Peghiny, President, Flight Design USA were selected to serve on these committees and have played leading roles in shaping content and driving the process toward a new and much-improved FAR 23. The toughest work has been accomplished and the finish line is now in sight, but the process of honing the details will continue through 2013, withfinal results anticipated to be agreed and enacted in the 2014-2015 timeframe.


We believe you will agree this is a momentous change and a unique opportunity that should not be missed in terms of new aircraft development. Therefore, in order to take full advantage of these improved regulations and to be able to offer the very best aircraft possible while still maintaining the originally announced pricing, Flight Design has elected to reschedule the certification process of the C4 to coincide with the changes to be enacted for the revised Part 23. To bring out a new aircraft prior to these changes would be unwise in light of the tremendous positive changes at hand. You, as a C4 Early Bird order holder, will now be able to fully benefit from this combination of lower cost and added safety as sought by the FAA and the entire aviation community.


Rest assured Flight Design and its team of engineers will not be sitting idle during thisadjustment period. In addition to working to achieve Production Organization Approval (POA) from EASA, a necessary step to producing and certifying the C4, we are continuing with vitalengineering and critical development work that will serve to speed and smooth the process following first flight so that certification can be achieved more quickly and with a minimum of hurdles remaining.


We recognize this rescheduling of the C4 certification timeline is likely to be initially perceivedas a disappointment. But when looking at the bigger picture and all that can be gained by coordinating the C4’s development with the revised FAR 23 certification standards, we trust you will agree it is a wise decision and one that will bear fruit for all involved, most importantly foryou, a C4 owner!


Finally, before closing, we are pleased to advise we have been actively evaluating all potential avionics suppliers over the past 18 months to partner with us on the C4. Avionics, along with the engine and airframe, are key components that must be ideally suited to achieve the lofty goals and high standards we have set for the C4. In avionics, as with everything related to the C4, we are looking for the best combination of technology, performance, quality, service and price. We are excited to be making excellent progress in this important area. Stand by for more news on this subject later this year!


Thank you again for your confidence and commitment to Flight Design and the C4. We look forward to making sure your patience in rewarded by ensuring the new C4 is the best it can be while holding to the originally announced pricing, even with this revised schedule.


Best regards,


Flight Design C4 Management Team





John Gilmore


National Sales Manager


Flight Design USA









The Flight Design CTLSi is a modern, all-carbon-fiber Light-Sport Aircraft with a wide, comfortable cabin with unparalleled visibility; an 1000-NM range at 115 Kts using only 4 gph. A Full glass panel, Garmin radio stack and a BRS airframe parachute are all standard equipment. Flight Design LSAs are backed with a nationwide service network, next-day parts availability and an established company serving more than 1,800 airplanes worldwide. Surveyed owners express high customer satisfaction.


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I'm a little bit skeptical though. They could be flying and testing while the cert stuff settles out. Something else is delaying them. Pipistrel just flew their big 4-seater (panthera). They seem to be excellent at aerodynamic design, BTW. It is retractable, but they fully expect 200kt at 10gph versus 145kt at 9gph for the C4. I love my 2006 SW, but I have to admit to a bit of 7year itch looking at the Panthera.

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