Addressing the pilot shortage by lowering operational costs is the aim of the new Elixir training aircraft which is expected to achieve certification this year.
The issue of pilot shortage has been widely discussed within the aviation industry and has often been blamed on the high cost of training in comparison with other professions.
Cyril Champenois, COO and Founder of Elixir, based in La Rochelle in France, said the new aircraft would be dedicated to training new commercial pilots in the next two decades. Certification for the aircraft is expected within 2019.
He said: “It will be cheaper, easier to maintain and more versatile – you can do every mission with it.”
Champenois said Elixir will result in large savings as it uses fewer parts than current training aircraft, which are typically based on models which flew in the 1960s.
He said simplifying the aircraft to just recurrent maintenance would dramatically reduce costs to €20 per hour for maintenance, compared to current budgets of €50-60 per hour.
He added that Elixir would enable operators to fly training aircraft with a budget of €40 per hour in fuel and maintenance costs.
He commented: “We are expecting certification by the end of this year, perhaps the end of summer or autumn. We passed the static test of the wing, so it is on the way. We are hiring four new engineers to prepare for production and have 84 pre-orders, which is good news. I would say two-thirds of which are flight schools and one third are private owners. so we have a lot of work coming in the next two to three years.”