This may be the finest, most memorable company and aircraft name among LSA, heck, maybe among all aircraft. I think these fellows were inspired when they named the aircraft “Freedom.”
Given the new company’s name is American Aircraft LLC, their model name choice makes it “American Freedom.” If that isn’t a name that works in this country, I don’t know what is.
This is a new company and a new aircraft making its debut in the U.S. Discovering such new entries can be quite challenging on AirVenture’s immense grounds with more than 800 exhibitors. I almost literally stumbled upon them when I showed up for a duty hour at FLYING magazine’s exhibit. As I approached I thought it looked familiar and sized to be the kind of flying machine I usually report.
Where did American Aircraft come from and how does it relate to earlier aircraft associated with prolific Colombian aeronautical designer Max Tedesco (using his somewhat Americanized name)?
Yet Another Max Tedesco Design
You may already know the work of this man based on aircraft once offered by Eric Giles who formed World Aircraft to build Tedesco’s aircraft in Paris, Tennessee. He created a beautiful facility and had great ambitions for a family of aircraft he had assembled (all by Tedesco) but the company later stumbled or ran out of funds and left the business forever.
I don’t know how many designs Tedesco has created but I am aware of perhaps five and I suspect he’s done more. We met once at Oshkosh more than 10 years ago.
A few years later I learned of a European design, Sila 450. Manufactured in Serbia, Sila was another Tedesco design, although the man selling it showed me documentation that made it appear he was the legitimate developer (though he gave Tedesco some credit for the original design).
Now at AirVenture 2023, I spoke again with Danny Labovic, who had worked with the man from Sila. Although he gave it a good effort, he said it proved impossible to work with the Sila developer and he ended the relationship.
In new and revised form, an aircraft somewhat similar to Sila 450 is now offered in the U.S. as Freedom. To a careful eye, this one is clearly a Tedesco design. Elements of the aircraft will be fabricated in Colombia, but much of the work and final assembly is planned for the U.S., according to American Aircraft. Tedesco prefers designing to manufacturing.
With the legal challenges fading into the past, Tedesco’s design skills can be redeployed to build flying machines for Yankees and what could be better than American Freedom?
Labovic operates American Aircraft LLC, with his nephew Ilija Labovic, a pilot who has logged 300 hours on an airplane similar to the Freedom on display at AirVenture 2023. A close relative of this model has been flying for many years in Europe and South America. Now it’s a North American production.
“Freedom is the American heir to the world-renowned MXP 1000 Tayrona, a Light-Sport Aircraft that has conquered the skies of Europe, South America, and Australia during the last three decades,” said Labovic. “The airframe has been tested to comply with European Very Light Aircraft (VLA) regulations at 750 kilograms or 1,650 pounds.” Hmmm, that sounds like an aircraft that could easily move right into Mosaic as a mLSA that offers a useful load of approximately its empty weight.
Like all Max Tedesco designs I have examined, Freedom is an all-metal construction, accented with chromoly steel in stressful locations along with limited use of composites. From my previous experience with his creations, I would expect slow stalls in the mid-30-knot range, spirited climb rates beyond 1,000 feet per minute, and cooperative handling. Tedesco has been designing light aircraft for 50 years and he knows his trade based on my discoveries when flying earlier entries.
Look at the images with this article to see a very nicely finished interior with full panels covering all the structure. It features comfortable seats and a distinctive folding joystick with a simple clamping mechanism to secure it for after after you are seated and belted. The door also helps entry as it is quite wide (fore to aft). The instrument panel can accommodate the usual array of glass screens and radios.
One distinctive design feature can be seen on the extreme droop tips that curl under as if to shape the air perfectly to prevent drag-producing bleed to the upper surface. This construction uses a composite part that is also employed at the tips of the tail’s horizontal stabilizer.
Where this gets interesting — after three years of raging inflation that has driven LSA prices beyond $200,000 in several cases and past $300,000 on a few — is the entry price for Freedom is $110,000. Assuming American Aircraft can maintain that figure, Americans are presented with a genuine bargain in an aircraft built this way.
Danny explained that they are working on declaring to the ASTM standards and he expects they can complete this and be ready for Special LSA orders by Sun ‘n Fun 2024, about nine months in the future at this writing. Few competing manufacturers can supply an airplane in that timeframe so I can imagine American Freedom capturing some new customers at next year’s season-starting airshow. If you’re interested by Freedom I’d inquire soon.
American Aircraft Freedom
all specification supplied by manufacturer
- Winspan — 32.8 feet
- Length — 20.9 feet
- Height — 8.2 feet
- Wing Area — 135.7 square feet
- Powerplant — Rotax 912ULS
- Power Output — 100 horsepower
- Fuel Consumption — 4.9 gallons per hour
- Fuel Capacity — 24 gallons
- Empty Weight — 772 pounds
- Useful Load — 548 pounds (before any increase related to Mosaic)
- Gross Weight — 1,320 pounds
- Takeoff Roll — 426 feet
- Landing Roll — 508 feet
- Stall Speed, clean — 37 knots
- Stall Speed, best flaps — 33 knots
- Cruise Speed, 75% power — 96 knots
- Maximum Horizontal Speed — 113 knots
- Rate of Climb — 1,000 feet per minute
- Load Factor — +5.7 / –3.7 Gs