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Thu, Jan 10, 2013

Aero-TV: A Pipistrel Alpha Update--Maximizing the LSA Proposition… And Then Some

Pipistrel's Cost-Effective Trainer Shows Strength In Tough Market

Pipistrel has long been known for affordable flying fun... but their latest offering was meant to be a revolutionary aircraft to those looking for a truly affordable training aircraft.

Seriously; the main differences from the "normal" Pipistrel aircraft and the new Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer aircraft is that the aircraft has been designed from the ground up for flying school operations. The aircraft has a reduced wingspan to make hangarage easier; there is a new more robust undercarriage and shorter nose leg offering improved visibility from the front of the aircraft.

The Pipistrel Alpha Trainer is a two-seat composite aircraft, powered by the Rotax 912 80 HP engine, burning only 2.5 US gallons per hour of fuel on a typical flight. The most popular LSA variant is produced in Italy, but also available is the Microlight/Ultralight model which is made in Slovenia. Alpha Trainer ships is one “full-equipment” configuration, which includes Radio, Transponder, GPS, Ballistic Parachute Rescue System, specially developed Analog/Digital instruments, extra strong landing gear, external lights and more.

Cruise speed at 75% power is a respectable 108 knots at 5200 rpm, but 5000 rpm results in 100 kts. The slow flying behavior is very typical of Pipistrel aircraft and the ALPHA Trainer reportedly remains stable and controllable right up to the 34 knot stall speed. The Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer conforms to all rules and regulations for the LSA category and can be flown at a max takeoff weight of 1212 lbs.

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