Thursday, July 1, 2004
This two-seater is certified and ready to roll!
| As owner of one or another four-place airplane for the last 40 years, I can count on my fingers and toes the number of times I’ve used all four seats for people. Like most aircraft owners, I’ve consistently purchased at least two seats more than I need, so far, at least five times. Apparently, I never learn. |
Visibility is excellent with the semi-bubble canopy providing Plexiglas all over the place. There’s a small hinge area directly overhead and a narrow windshield frame, although neither restrict the view. The clamshell-style doors wrap back well past the pilot and passenger’s shoulders, so you can look to both sides, back, up and forward with virtually no restrictions.
The Liberty XL2’s gear features a wide track and a long wheelbase, both of which help to contribute to its easy landing characteristics. The Liberty XL2 design also employs wide-span, long-chord, slotted electric flaps that reduce stall speed from 52 knots all the way down to 45 knots. With such impressive low speed available, it’s not hard to imagine approaches as slow as 55 knots, so runway requirements are short, which is under 800 feet. Even the over-50-foot numbers are only 1,250 horizontal feet. Pilots with a need to plunk it on and stop it short should find even modestly obstructed runways of 1,500 feet or longer more than adequate.
Liberty is promoting the XL2 as a private transport more than a trainer, but the airplanes will inevitably find homes on training flight lines across the country, especially those that were forced to switch to four-seaters when the older generation of trainers was retired in the ’80s. Anthony Tiarks, founder of Europa in the late ‘80s, and president and CEO of Liberty Aerospace, feels there’s a strong market for a two-seater that can perform both missions.
At a base price under $140,000 for a VFR airplane and $160,000 for an IFR machine, the Liberty XL2’s obvious competition is the Diamond C1, a formidable contender supported by an established company and priced at about the same level. Liberty’s plant in Melbourne is geared up to produce as many as five XL2s a week. Current backlog is 53 orders, although that’s sure to improve when more people have the chance to fly this quick, economical personal transport that Liberty hopes will impress private buyers as well as flight schools.
For more information, contact Liberty Aerospace at (800) 759-5953 or log on to www.libertyaircraft.com
.SPECS: 2004 Liberty XL2 N204XL
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