The Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer
Pipistrel is proud to announce the release of our new aircraft, the Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer
In keeping with Pipistrel's tradition of continuing evolution, quality, high-tech manufacturing and most importantly a fantastic price, Pipistrel is proud to announce the successful conclusion of the test flights program and the release of our new aircraft, the Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer. Built on the solid pedigree of our extensive product line-up, the ALPHA Trainer combines quality with a fantastic price tag. The Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer offers affordable flying with no performance restrictions!
The name "Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer" describes the exact purpose of this exciting new aircraft designed for flying schools. The aircraft has been engineered with the "essence of training" as its primary design goal; training has to start somewhere, just like the modern alphabet starts with the letter "A" therefore this new aircraft bears the name ALPHA, the ALPHA Trainer to be exact. The ALPHA Trainer has in fact been developed for the purpose of being a military basic aircraft Trainer upon request of military aircraft forces of certain countries. So you may encounter the Alpha Trainer being used by air forces around the world under different names, such as Garud, Proteus and others.
The original idea was to offer one training aircraft which was suitable for markets all over the world – this would enable Pipistrel to mass-produce the aircraft which would drastically lower the production costs of the aircraft and consequentially the final market price. But after discussing this option with our distributors, we realized this was not possible, because the rules and standards in some markets were very different from the legislation in other countries. We decided to offer the same aircraft in two different versions, with different MTOW and different avionics packs. In the markets and countries which have the FAA-LSA (or adaptation of ASTM rules) categories we offer the 550 kg / 1212 lbs. MTOW version; and in countries which adhere to the UL LTF standards or similar we will make available the European Ultralight/Microlight version with the MTOW of 472.5 kg.
Pipistrel realise times have been changing; over the last several years our customers have evolved from basic, entry-level aircraft to more sophisticated pilots who require glass-everything with autopilot and many other additions. This is great if you can afford it, but lately the ailing economy mostly does not allow that. Most aircraft are too expensive for the average person or flight school to purchase. Pipistrel have developed an entirely new aircraft, a completely new approach to flight training and at a cost nearly half that of our competitors.
The new ALPHA Trainer is packed with some exciting features! Not only it is affordable to purchase, it is also very economical to maintain and fun to fly! In fact, we believe that no other LSA training aircraft offers as low operation costs as the new Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer!
Here are our ideas what a proper UL or LSA training airplane should be like. All of them have been incorporated in the ALPHA Trainer:
• It must be strong and easy to fly for beginner students
• It must have benign stall characteristics for the training market with no flying surprises
• It must be affordable and easy to operate, maintain and repair
• It must be capable of doing circuits all day long, in all conditions including excessive heat well above 100°F (37°C)
• It must have good ventilation and heating when required
• It must have approved strobes and lighting
• It must have a quiet cockpit for easy communication between instructor and student
• It must have guaranteed access to reliable spare parts supply to keep the aircraft on the flight line
• It must have reasonable range for cross-country flight training
• It must be easy to service daily and refuel
• It must have a ballistic parachute system
• It must have a durable finish for outdoor storage
• It must have good brakes for the odd 'urgent occasion'
• It must have dual flight controls, easy and quickly adjustable for different sized people
• It must have an expected long operating life
• It must be tricycle configuration with steerable nose wheel
• It must have easy cockpit access, even for elderly students
• And did we say affordable to purchase and operate?
After an extensive market research and evaluation Pipistrel is now ready to deliver the perfect training aircraft, providing a fully optioned and LSA-approved training aircraft at a very reasonable cost with the lowest running costs in the industry.
The main undercarriage, which is made of composite material, has been reinforced to handle the hardest landings even at MTOW, which provides for a full fuel payload of 507 lbs (230 kg). The undercarriage is designed to be strong and durable and capable of accepting hard landings made by student pilots. The new nose leg is 2 inches (5 cm) shorter, lowering the nose and improving the visibility during taxi. Propeller clearance is not sacrificed because the Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer uses a smaller 63" (162 cm) diameter fixed pitch propeller.
The Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer aircraft has a new central 15 gallon (57 litres) fuel tank. 15 gallons (57 liters) does not sound like much when you are talking about conventional aircraft, but Pipistrel aircraft are much more efficient! In reality 15 gallons (57 litres) is more than enough for the ALPHA Trainer. The fuel tank now has a large opening which means it can be filled directly from fast flow avgas pumps which are found at the large majority of airfields. The capacity will give the Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer aircraft at least 390 nm (720 km) range 30 minutes reserve at normal cruise speeds of 108 kts (200 km/h). In the training role doing circuits the aircraft will be using less than 2.5 gallons per hour (7.6 litres per hour), effectively giving you 5 hours endurance from just 15 gallons (57 l) of fuel.
The Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer is fitted with the ever reliable Rotax 912 80 hp engine. While some may question whether 80 hp is enough, those familiar with Pipistrel know that our designs maximize performance with the given power. The 80 hp engine powers the Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer to a respectable, Cessna 172 cruise speed of 108 knots (200km/h) and will achieve very short take-off distance and climb rates of over 1000 fpm (5 m/s). Pipistrel believes that the Rotax 80 hp engine is the ideal choice for a training aircraft, it is smooth and reliable, it is frugal with the fuel and the 2000 hour/15 year TBO is achievable.
New wing design
The Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer has a new wing design based on the already successful and proven Pipistrel Virus SW aircraft. With the redesigned wing the aircraft does not require airbrakes to land, further simplifying the cockpit controls for students. The new wings feature redesigned flaperons which now have +25° of flap travel enabling short field landings.
The new propeller for the Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer is Pipistrel's own design, CNC machined in-house. It is manufactured from wood and is then protected with a durable covering including leading edge protection. Being a wooden propeller there is very little vibration which contributes towards the smooth running of the aircraft. A special covering makes the propeller very durable, offering years of use in a normal training environment.
The Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer is manufactured from state-of-the-art composite materials and has an empty weight of 100 pounds less than most competitors' aircraft. This, combined with reduced drag, is one of the reasons why the Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer can offer such good performance and economy.
Robust and durable
Durability in the training market requires careful planning. For this reason Pipistrel have chosen to supply the Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer with extra heavy-duty seat fabric, the wheel spats are also removed from this aircraft meaning it's impossible for a student to break them getting in and out and in the unlikely event of a puncture the wheel can be removed and replaced in around 2 minutes, again design features helping to keep the Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer in the air and earning money rather than being in the repair shop.
The ALPHA Trainer has a luggage rack for storing of tie downs and ropes, water bottles, first aid kit and other accessories. Access to the storage area is through the cockpit seats which fold forward to offer easy and unrestricted access. There are also two large pockets on the sides of the instrument panel, ideal for storing maps and water bottles during flight.
The brakes have been redesigned and simplified for the Pipistrel ALPHA Trainer, offering exceptional braking performance even on short airfields. The directly steerable nose wheel can easily turn the aircraft in a very short distance and the brake shoes can be replaced in less than 15 minutes, keeping your maintenance costs down.
During our quarter of century of aircraft building experience we have learned that a training aircraft must have a classic-looking instrument panel, so we have kept this look but modernised the instruments for better visibility and reliability using large and very easy to read 3 1/8" (80 mm) ASI and ALT.
Conventional-looking aircraft instruments are all clearly labelled with the correct colour coded speeds and temperatures in a traditional and familiar training format.
Variometer and engine RPM counter have two separate displays while the other engine parameters are displayed in a common multifunction very bright full-colour display with audio alarms for exceeded values, which significantly increases the safety.
All avionics are well-lit with their own light source which enables good visibility during all kinds of light conditions; equally visible during both day and night flying.
Because the rules and standards in some markets are different from the legislation in the EU and other countries, we offer the aircraft with 2 different avionics packs:
USA LSA avionics pack includes:
• Artificial horizon 3 1/8" (80mm)
• ELT Kannad 406 AF – Compact (406 MHz)
• Radio ICOM IC A210 with intercom, aerial and 2 headsets
• Transponder Garmin GTX 327 C-mode with altitude encoder and antenna
• All the avionics in the USA LSA pack use imperial units (feet, knots, etc.)
The UL-LTF version and version for other non-USA LSA markets includes:
• Radio FILSER ATR 833 with intercom, aerial and 2 headsets
• FILSER TRT 800 C&S-MODE with altitude encoder and antenna
Both versions also include:
• Air speed indicator diameter 3 1/8" (80mm)
• Altimeter diameter 3 1/8" (80mm)
• Vertical Speed Indicator diameter 2 ?" (57 mm)
• Engine instruments (tacho, engine hour counter, oil press & temp, CHT, 2 x EGT, fuel quantity, fuel pressure, fuel consumption etc.)
• GPS Garmin AERA 500 + AirGizmo
All avionics have a display with own light source for optimum visibility under all light.
Press release issued by Pipistrel d.o.o. Ajdovscina on May 14, 2012
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