In the fall of ’01, I wrote in Ultralight Flying!, “The CT is the tip of an iceberg, in my opinion.” When I flew that first CT in the USA, few Yankees had seen the aircraft. I felt the German design represented the beginning of a flow of European aircraft coming to America. What a difference a couple of years make! Thanks to adept and steady promotion, Americans may best identify the coming breed of proposed Light-Sport Aircraft by pointing to the Flight Design CT2K. While this means no disrespect to trikes, tube-and-rag ultralights, or powered parachutes, the CT’s unusual, smoothly-contoured shape is now well known to many Americans. Though the brand is fabricated in the Ukraine and assembled in Germany, it crosses the Atlantic as a prototypical candidate for FAA’s proposed Light-Sport Aircraft category. Rollison Light Sport Aircraft imported the first U.S.-based CT I flew. The design is now brought in by Flightstar Sportplanes and HPower HKS engine honcho Tom Peghiny.
|Empty weight||580 pounds|
|Gross weight||1,232 pounds|
|Wing area||116 square feet|
|Wing loading||10.6 pounds per square foot|
|Fuel Capacity||34 gallons|
|Kit type||Fully assembled|
|Build time||None, or assembly from shipping only|
|Standard engine||Rotax 912|
|Power||80 hp at 5,500 rpm|
|Power loading||15.4 pounds per hp|
|Cruise speed||132 mph|
|Economy Cruise||4.5 gph|
|Never exceed speed||192 mph|
|Rate of climb at gross||1,000 fpm|
|Takeoff distance at gross||300 feet|
|Landing distance at gross||450 feet|
|Notes:||*Wing loading with the 912S (100 hp) engine is 12.3 pounds/square foot.|
|Standard Features||80-hp Rotax 912, quickly removed wings, 4-point belts, 3-color paint scheme, 2 baggage compartments, ASI, altimeter, tach, oil gauges, CHT, and numerous amenities and appointments suiting a $60,000 aircraft.|
|Options||100-hp Rotax 912S, leather seats, additional instruments and avionics, BRS emergency parachute system, skis, Full Lotus floats, special paint and graphics.|
|Construction||Fiberglass airframe reinforced with carbon fiber. Manufactured in Eastern Europe for a German-owned company; distributed by U.S.-owned Rollison Airplane Company.|
Cosmetic appearance, structural integrity, achievement of design goals, effectiveness of aerodynamics, ergonomics.
Pros - Sleek, cantilevered design not seen in ultralight circles (more similar to U.S. homebuilts). Excellent combination of features and attributes: roomy, speedy, well appointed for American market. Built around 80-hp Rotax 912 engine.
Cons - Fiberglass and carbon repairs are said to be not difficult, but experience is needed with these materials. At present, the test CT is the only one operating in America.
Subsystems available to pilot such as: Flaps; Fuel sources; Electric start; In-air restart; Brakes; Engine controls; Navigations; Radio; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Test CT was loaded with extras. Flaps have usual down positions but also up or reflex positions which can be used to enhance cruise performance. Electric start standard with Rotax 912s. Fuel capacity is large. Hydraulic brakes are via lever; work well.
Cons - The CT isn't missing any systems you probably want, but all more complex aircraft require more familiarity to handle competently. Engine accessible only after cowl removal. Brakes don't assist ground steering.
Instrumentation; Ergonomics of controls; Creature comforts; (items covered may be optional).
Pros - Huge roomy cabin 49 inches wide. Interior compartments accessible in flight. Wide doors for easy entry/exit. Comfortable, supportive seats with 4-point belts. Seats adjust both bottom and back rest. Panel easily reached.
Cons - I struggled to unlatch the gull-wing door for closing when securely belted. Seemed somewhat noisier than another European 912-powered CT I flew in France. No other negatives to this wonderful cabin.
Taxi visibility; Steering; Turn radius; Shock absorption; Stance/Stability; Braking.
Pros - Very straightforward handling for anyone used to conventional tri-gear operation. Brakes were quite effective. Visibility was very broad (except upward). Large ground clearance. Quite precise to taxi.
Cons - Rather stiff suspension (mostly noticed on turf runway). No aft window or visibility.
Qualities; Efficiency; Ease; Comparative values.
Pros - Responsive controls allow normal crosswind operation. Glide seemed quite strong, an asset in an engine-loss situation. Flaps help control glide path and slips are reasonably effective. Large ground clearance will help if you must land off-field.
Cons - In France my landing was good. At shorter airstrips you'll need practice to handle the the CT's long glide; you must plan approaches well. Takeoff roll is long (compared to ultralights), thanks to smaller wing and higher weight.
Quality and quantity for: Coordination; Authority; Pressures; Response; and Coupling.
Pros - Very light and responsive handling. Dutch roll coordination exercises went well almost immediately (though always keeping the ball centered will take some experience). Well balanced controls. Precision turns to heading were easy.
Cons - Pitch is light enough that some pilots may not feel comfortable. Coordination will take some time to optimize. Adverse yaw is significant.
Climb; Glide; Sink; Cruise/stall/max speeds; Endurance; Range; Maneuverability.
Pros - Very speedy design. Even with an incorrect prop, I saw speeds of more than 140 mph (though for U.S. market, the CT will be propped down). U.S. model with IvoProp propeller didn't exceed 132 mph, per GPS runs. Slows down under 40 mph.
Cons - Climb not as strong as expected, perhaps optimized for European high-cruise speed desires.
Stall recovery and characteristics; Dampening; Spiral stability; Adverse yaw qualities.
Pros - Fitting both German and English certification systems, the CT has normal stall response, longitudinal response, and throttle response - a benefit of such programs. Four-point seat belts are standard.
Cons - Slippery airplane that may be more than some pilots want. Fitted with a parachute, though with the activating handle awkwardly located in case of emergency (see article).
Addresses the questions: "Will a buyer get what he/she expects to buy, and did the designer/builder achieve the chosen goal?"
Pros - The CT has German certification, and thanks to Pegasus, approval under the tough English system. Though $60,000 is a lot of money, the CT is a well equipped model for far less than a certified general aviation aircraft or many homebuilts.
Cons - CT kits are currently unavailable (European sales allow fully built models). Company and plane are not well known in the U.S., which could affect resale ability.