After appearance at Blois in September 2006 the Elf prototype flew very successfully in the hands of several pilots and in particular the L/D of 26.4:1 and sink rate of 120 ft/min confirmed that the Elf possessed sufficient engine off performance to capture the imagination of soaring pilots. It’s ability to utilise marginal lift and core small thermals promises owners many hours in the air to advance their skills.
As a result of this success, the Elf is now in production, with EU development funding support. Several improvements are being introduced, including a larger diameter propeller, a moulded canopy to provide better upwards visibility, and optional carbon wishbone undercarriage.
During 2006 we were disappointed to learn that the new owners of Mecachrome had discontinued production of JPX engines. Fortunately, Compact Radial Engines in Canada have produced a similar, and more powerful engine for us, and this is now undergoing duration testing.
The first production Elf will be delivered in May, to us, after which it will be taken to Pau in Southern France for test flying and demonstration.
Regarding UK Certification and availability, after much discussion with various technical associates and potential owners, we have decided to process the Elf through BCAR Section ‘S’ under PFA supervision. We decided against the proposed de-regulation category, principally because we did not want to compromise performance and structure by seeking a 30% weight reduction, and also because customers were more comfortable with the thought of riding thermals and accompanying turbulence in a fully tried, tested and certified aircraft.
All this testing will, of course, take time and patience, but we shall endeavour to go through the process as quickly as possible. We expect to receive all components from Poland by the end of March, after which we shall construct the various jigs for load testing.
Elf demonstration and test flying will be undertaken from May onwards at Pau, which is a Ryanair destination. Any suitably experienced UK pilot will be welcome to sample the Elf experience over beautiful countryside on the edge of the Pyrenees. Arrangements of suitable dates and accommodation will be announced soon.
For UK demonstration we hope to arrange a three week flying visit in mid-summer.
So as far as the UK is concerned, we are some months away from providing you with your certified Elf, however rest assured we shall be working hard to complete certification.
We shall be continuing to issue news bulletins on this website throughout 2007.
© 2007 XC-Aviation All