We were flying rather well, all things considered; I could maneuver the F2 around within this part of the envelope, practically begging it to fall off and drop its nose past the horizon. It didn’t comply. Instead, with a little push of the stick and throttle, we flew right out of the deep end of the slow flight regime as soon as the airplane was asked.
The Flight Design F2 reflects well the aerodynamic understanding and advanced avionics technology-driven into the design. After the company’s CT series gained a reputation as a somewhat fussy airplane to fly, the F2 turns that impression on its head.
The clean-sheet design that comprises the F2 comes from the rebirth of the company that created it. Flight Design evolved from a small business building ultralights and gliders into an airplane manufacturer in 1988, managed by its founder and visionary leader, Matthias Betsch. However, financial troubles dogged its existence, and while the CT series of microlight (in Europe) and light-sport category (in the US) aircraft proved reasonably successful in both the US and Europe (see sidebar), new designs were hard to fund and get off the ground.
Those fortunes changed in 2017, when Flight Design was purchased by Lift Air, a division of Lift Holdings and financially supported by Lindig Group, an industrial manufacturer in Germany. With a new infusion of capital and leadership under managing director Daniel Guenther, Flight Design began the development program on the two-seat F2 series and a four-seat F4. The new models debuted at Aero Friedrichshafen in 2019.
Siemens has joined forces with Flight Design to support an electric version, the F2e, with a proof of concept that debuted in summer 2019. But the first out of the gate will be the traditionally powered F2. As of November 2020, P2—the second prototype of the standard F2 flown for this report, which will meet light sport aircraft standards—has a couple hundred hours on it. The third conforming prototype, P3, is finished and flying in the Czech Republic, and it’s being used to secure European Union Aviation Safety Agency CS23 approval (the rough equivalent to the FAA’s Part 23). The model is now officially in production, and Flight Design expects to have them in the US by the end of January. The F4 project is funded, in development, and projected to debut stateside in summer 2022.
The production quality has kicked up a notch, too, for the all-carbon-fiber airframe. Next-gen CNC machined molds are used to make the fuselage in two pieces—the left and the right sides match exactly. Weight savings derived from the switch to Hexcel pre-preg carbon fiber— reducing the amount of epoxy and filler used—pencil out into a higher useful load on an already generous figure for the LSA category.
“Safety sells the airplane,” Tom Gutmann Jr. says. The Gutmanns—Tom Jr. and Tom Sr.—have been with Flight Design since the aircraft were first imported under the new S-LSA guidance in the US. “We’ve worked together for 18 years. They’re really hardworking and cheerful,” says Tom Peghiny, principal of Flight Design USA. The Gutmanns’ company, Airtime Aviation, in Jenks, Oklahoma, has been the distributor for the central and mountain US since the beginning of Flight Design’s tenure stateside. Flight Design USA serves as the importer and distributor for the northeastern US. A network of dealers spans the country.
The Gutmanns have seen the results of better manufacturing, reporting closer fit on the doors and cowling in particular, which bodes well for maintaining the airplane more easily in the field. The F2’s wider than the CT series too, according to Tom Jr. With a standard BRS ballistic recovery parachute and an AmSafe air-bag system, safety is indeed part of the F2’s DNA.
The main landing gear saw an overhaul as well: Instead of separate gear legs attached to the left and right undersides of the fuselage, a single carbon-fiber strut carries through the belly. The result is much better dampening on landings, which I experienced firsthand during my initial touchdowns during our flight test. This should help the F2’s placement in a flight school lineup, mitigating student errors that the previous designs may have exacerbated.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Sudden Surprise Trouble
What the FAA taketh away, it giveth back.
LIFE IN THE AIR: Living the Dream
The journey from M X to CFI
Doc, David, Herb and the Cops
A once-in-a-lifetime B-29 flight
WHEN THE MUSIC DIES
VFR FLIGHT INTO IMC
WE FLY: FLIGHT DESIGN F2
AN ALL-AROUND ALL- COMPOSITE TREAT
What works on one airplane might not work on another.
THE FLYING STATION WAGON
Blame for the 737 Max
The FAA designee program is too big to fail.
Leaving the flight deck amidst a pandemic
An Aviation Mentor
Why it’s so important
The Food Fight in Fake Meat
Beyond Meat was an early leader. But rival Impossible Foods and others want to eat its lunch
Prices for a warehouse staple are at a record, buoyed by the boom in e-commerce
THE MAN WHO KEEPS THE FAR RIGHT ONLINE
While Amazon and its peers have stopped supporting certain prominent White supremacists and conspiracy theorists, Nick Lim has stepped in
Stopping the Race to the Bottom on Taxes
The U.S. is energizing a global effort to put a floor under corporate tax rates
LAW & CRYPTO
Arthur Hayes faces U.S. prosecution over how he ran his overseas Bitcoin exchange
BIDEN TELLS EXECS US NEEDS TO INVEST, LEAD IN COMPUTER CHIPS
President Joe Biden used a virtual meeting with corporate leaders about a global shortage of semiconductors to push for his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan, telling them that the U.S. should be the world’s computer chip leader.
AMERICA'S SECRET WAR WITH UFOs EXPOSED!
Air Force F-22 warplane downed in dogfight as Navy takes out alien craft
Jonathan Kellner Has Big Money Backing His U.S. Stock Trading Startup
When he was handed a debit card with $70 million in the bank, Jonathan Kellner realized his startup was different. ¶ Members Exchange, known as MEMX, started as a protest by banks and market makers against the rising data and connectivity fees charged by U.S. stock exchanges. In the two years since Kellner, 52, signed on as chief executive officer, MEMX Holdings LLC has locked in more than $135 million in funding from 18 stock trading and investing heavyweights, including BlackRock, Citadel Securities, and Morgan Stanley. ¶ Since it went fully live in October, MEMX has clinched 1% of the U.S. market share. Kellner, previously the CEO of Nomura Holdings Inc.’s Instinet, spoke with Bloomberg Markets in February about launching during a pandemic and the surge in meme stocks.
Who Should Set The Rules?
TWO OF THE MOST powerful women in finance are at odds over how to use their power.
FACEBOOK DATA ON MORE THAN 500M ACCOUNTS FOUND ONLINE
Details from more than 500 million Facebook users have been found available on a website for hackers.