A trainer aircraft having South African heritage prepares to fly out from Belgium.
Sonaca Aircraft – a Belgian company is in the middle of a making a single-engine, two seat airplane which they have named Sonaca 200.
The aircraft has been designed for training purpose and required modifications have been made to the design to withstand rigorous maneuvers during regular flight training.
Sonaca 200 is equipped with beefed-up landing gear that allows it to fly safely from unpaved airports.
A 115 HP Rotax 914 turbocharged engine powers the all metal airplane, which can fly in night VFR conditions.
The airplane can take off and land in a crosswind component of up to twenty knots thanks to the ground clearances at the wing tips and large control surfaces.
Numerous ground tests have been performed on the first test airplane including that of engine cradle, seat / seat belts and more. Sonaca 200 will now move ahead for aeronautical checking at IABG in Germany.
The second test airplane is being assembled already for test flight and the inaugural flight is expected to happen in April.
Sonaca Group is an 85 year old company based in Belgium and is involved in structural design, assembly and certification of aircrafts. Sonaca Aircraft which is owned partially by the Airplane Factory is a subsidiary of Sonaca Group.
The Airplane Factory is a South African company that manufactures Sling 2 and Sling 4, glimpses of which are visible in Sonaca 200.
Sonaca 200 will not be available as a kit, but as a complete airplane. Initially some parts of the airplane will come from The Airplane Factory and will be designed and manufactured in Belgium.
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According to Pierre Van Wetter, chief commercial officer and pilot at Sonaca Aircraft, once the airplane passes the EASA CS-VLA, it will go for certification from FAA. He also added that for the American market, the airplane will be assembled in the United States.