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Pipstrel ALPHA cuts the cost of flight training

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December 1, 2011

Pipistrel is releasing the ALPHA in 2012 at an intro price of EUR59,000

Pipistrel is releasing the ALPHA in 2012 at an intro price of EUR59,000

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European ultralight aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel has taken note of the ever increasing prices being quoted for entry-level Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) and has done something about it. Enter the ALPHA Trainer. Its 34-foot 6-inch wingspan, reliable Rotax 4-cylinder, 4-stroke engine and rugged landing gear makes it suitable for flight training, and its 108 knot (200 km/h) cruising speed is right up there with most of the fast boys.

Back to the Future

LSA aircraft have taken the recreational flying industry by storm, having evolved from basic entry level aircraft to more sophisticated "fast glass" with electronic instrument panels, autopilot and GPS, even synthetic vision. Unfortunately this has driven prices skyward, hence this re-focus on the basics.

The ALPHA's instrumentation returns to traditional "steam gauge" analogues, but retains VHF radio, transponder and even a ballistic parachute - handy when all else fails. In a world where real men fly taildraggers, the ALPHA sensibly uses the tricycle-type undercarriage most suited to beginners.

The main legs are tough composite construction, and the front one is short to provide excellent forward vision when on the ground, yet has the ability to absorb punishment from those not-so-elegant landings.

ALPHA instrumentation returns to traditional 'steam gauge' analogues

Powerplant

The Rotax 80 hp engine is an ideal choice for the ALPHA's mission profile. Smooth and reliable, it is also very fuel efficient - around 12 liters per hour on regular unleaded fuel - and comes with a 2000 hour/15 year time before it requires overhaul.

Price

Providing added impetus, Pipistrel is releasing the ALPHA in 2012 at an intro price of EUR59,000 plus shipping and registration in the USA, which would bring the price up to around US$83,000 , substantially cheaper than top-of-the-line LSA's which can go for well over US$100,000.

About the Author
Martin Hone Martin spent 17 years as road and track tester for Australian Motorcycle News and has raced motorcycles for over 40 years, picking up an Australian Championship in 1993 in the Unlimited Class Historic. An aircraft builder and experienced recreational pilot, he currently operates a test flight and maintenance facility, owns a Ducati 1000 and a Buell 1200 … and writes for Gizmag.   All articles by Martin Hone
4 Comments

I have never been enamored with glass cockpits, one wire breaks and instead of loosing one instrument you loose an entire panel.

It reminds me of the fools that build, or buy fighters without a gun, and the unfortunate pilots that could not take a shot because there were friendly aircraft six miles behind his target.

Slowburn
2nd December, 2011 @ 09:57 am PST

@ Slowburn, go havies with you on one of these, where do you live? I am in Orygun, err Oregon

Bill Bennett
2nd December, 2011 @ 08:51 pm PST

Interesting comments- I could say....with one engine....engine failure and the whole show is over with....except for the contact with the ground....or is it 2 engines has a higher accident rate than SEL?

glass cockpits have traditional flight instruments as backups if there is an electrical issue...just as traditional flight instruments have a backup..needle and ball...or vacuum powered instruments.

I was reading the whole concept of this trainer and overall safety issues are being taken into account...looks like it will come down to the PIC in regards to preventing an incident or accident.

aerodarts
17th December, 2011 @ 03:49 pm PST

Today, a career as a professional pilot can be both personally rewarding and lucrative. But to become a qualified pilot you will need to take the required courses and training, and this applies, whether you plan to fly commercial airplanes, or if you choose to be a private pilot. Aside from the courses you will need to take, there are pilot trainingcosts to consider as well.

Mary Sandra
2nd January, 2013 @ 11:29 pm PST
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