Flight Design's certified four-place aircraft, the C4, will be assembled in the U.S. In an interview after a news conference at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida, Flight Design's Tom Peghiny said it makes economic sense to build the aircraft in the U.S. "More than 60 percent of the economic value in the plane comes from the U.S.," said Peghiny, whose company is the U.S. dealer for the planemaker's line of light sport aircraft. Peghiny said they are now actively scouting locations for a plant and speaking with state and local governments about incentives. "It will be final assembly at least," he said, noting the Lycoming engine, avionics and some airframe components are made in the U.S. He said there have been advanced discussions with officials in several locations and he hopes to have an announcement soon. Meanwhile, the aircraft itself appears to be living up to its billing as a lower-cost alternative to the Cessna 172.
Flight Design first flew a prototype on April 9 and reported performance as good or better than a 172. Peghiny said he hopes to have a prototype in the U.S. by the end of the year. Flight Design CEO Matthias Betsch said the Lycoming IO-360AF runs flawlessly. The AF stands for alternative fuels, which means the engine can run on lower octane, leadless fuels like 94 UL, which is an important consideration in Europe.