Days Of Celebration, Days Of Dreams

10 new planes that offer encouragement and new visions for aviation


ATP & D-Jet

We may well mark 2009 as a dramatic evocation of past and future, a time when the traditional veneration of past achievements and the bright and amazing promise of future technology both occupied center stage. We'll remember the frightening economic crash of 2008, which seems, at last, to be yielding to recovery. At EAA AirVenture, airplanes and crowds---by the thousands and thousands---poured from the skies and through the turnstile arch to spill onto the carnival-bright grounds of Wittman Field.

This is a year for anniversaries: the 50th of the Cessna 150, 60th of the North American T-28 Trojan, 80th of the Pietenpol and 100th of Canadian aviation. But it will also go down in the history books as the year when the future snuck in on a whir of silent propellers: commercially produced electric-powered aircraft made their dramatic debuts.


Cessna 162 SkyCatcher

Much as we remember the flights of the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk a century ago, we'll point to the first flights of commercially produced electric-powered airplanes as the time when the world changed forever---again. The future is here, and it is now.

The 10 aircraft below represent our take on recent aviation notables, but you can take away this capsule overview: Economic doldrums seem to be fading, and the human spirit of endurance, adaptation and innovation is alive and as exuberantly indomitable as ever.


Tecnam P2006T

Cessna 162 SkyCatcher
The long-watched, patiently awaited (more than 1,000 orders are on the books) Cessna SkyCatcher, powered by the 100 hp Continental O-200D, emerged from flight-testing setbacks with its ASTM certification sticker---the 100th LSA model to do so. Deliveries of the China-produced LSA should start by year's end. Visit www.cessna.com.


Red Tail P-51

Tecnam P2006T
Long-time Italian producer Tecnam offers its P2006T, a "compact," twin-engine high-winger that takes an impressive new slant on four-seat personal or business travel. Powered by FAR 33--certified Rotax 912S engines, the bird has a 9 gph total burn; that's with both engines running. It also features retractable gear, full-feathering constant-speed props and an optional all-glass avionics cockpit---all for less than $500,000 fully equipped. Visit www.tecnamaircraft.com.

Red Tail P-51
The famed Tuskegee Airmen, World War II's celebrated African-American troop of P-51 fighter pilots, are enjoying yet another celebration of their storied past with the return of one of their own: a C-model Mustang like the one they flew so long ago. Following a fatal crash, the airplane was rebuilt through tens of thousands of hours of work and donations amounting to $25,000 over the project's five years. Visit www.redtail.org.



P-750 XSTOL

P-750 XSTOL
From New Zealand comes this rugged-looking XSTOL (extremely short takeoff and landing) airplane with an impressive range of potential mission modes, including passenger/cargo/utility hauling, skydiving, crop dusting and aerial surveying! The P-750 offers 10 seats, takeoff and landing in less than 800 feet, rough-strip operations and a 4,000-pound useful load even in high-
density-altitude conditions. Visit www.aerospace.co.nz.


Diamond DA20

ATP & D-Jet
Diamond Aircraft has chosen Airline Transport Professionals (ATP) as its flight-training provider, with 20 D-Jets currently on order. ATP will provide factory-authorized type-rating and recurrent training and support services for the new VLJ at several of its centers nationwide. The flight training is aimed primarily at the owner-pilot market, which focuses on an initial pilot-candidate assessment and six- to nine-day comprehensive programs. Visit www.atpflightschool.com and www.diamondaircraft.com.


Yuneec E430

Diamond DA20
Diamond's sporty, two-seat, T-tail flivver received a panel makeover with Garmin's newly certified G500 PFD/MFD. Priced at $15,995, the G500 is targeted at more than 600 single- and twin-engine aircraft. Options include a version of Garmin's Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) software and the GAD 43 autopilot interface. Visit www.diamondaircraft.com and www.garmin.com.

Yuneec E430
The all-composite E430 LSA is the world's first commercially produced, two-seat electric aircraft. It flies for well over an hour on just $2.50 of electric charge! Look for it on the market within the next year, and expect refinements---the E430 was brought from design to first flight in only four months! Visit yuneeccouk.site.securepod.com.


Dornier Seastar CD2

Dornier Seastar CD2
Dornier's all-composite, twin Seastar CD2 amphibian can be configured in various ways, with a max passenger load of 12! Fully certified, its power train features two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135A in-line turboprops with 650 shp each. Max climb is 1,300 fpm; max cruise is 180 knots. Visit www.dornierseaplane.com.

Icon Aircraft A5
The much-anticipated Icon Aircraft A5 amphibious S-LSA had its land-launch debut at EAA AirVenture's seaplane base in July. Hundreds of aviation enthusiasts watched the production prototype---the company says 400 orders are on the books---nimbly carve high-bank turns overhead and then perform numerous takeoffs and smooth landings on water. It was an impressive public showing. Visit www.iconaircraft.com.


Icon Aircraft A5

Stratos 714

Sonex & Stratos Personal Jets
Longtime kit aircraft maker Sonex could sell its SubSonex single-place jet for less than $50,000; it weighs 330 pounds and has a 750-pound gross weight. The engine comes from RC modeling ranks! Projected Vne is 300 mph. Also in development is the Stratos 714, a four-seat very light personal jet (VLPJ) project with performance that includes operations at FL410. Visit www.sonexaircraft.com and www.stratosaircraft.com.

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