The beginning of 2017 will be devoted to the assembly of the first two aircraft intended for the ground and flight tests of the SONACA 200, a single-engine two-seater developed by Sonaca Aircraft.
The first aircraft (Test Aircraft 1), which was assembled on Sonaca’s site in Belgium, has been entirely dedicated to ground tests "We tested the strength of the seats, seat belts (harnesses) and also the engine cradle and front leg by simulating rough or crosswind landings. At the end of February, IABG, a center for aeronautical testing based in Germany and specialized in stress tests” will conduct the wing stress tests, explained Vincent Jaumotte, Flight Test Engineer for Sonaca Aircraft.
A second plane (Test Aircraft 2) will be used for the flight tests which are scheduled in April.
The new version of the SONACA 200 has been 80% modified
The shape of the aircraft, the wing profile and the choice of materials have been maintained. Concerning the modifications and enhancements made to the prototype, 80% of the initial structure has been redesigned in order to meet market requirements on the one hand, and EASA certification requirements on the other. "We have significantly altered the structural resistance in order to obtain a 750 kg maximum take-off mass with a 4.4G load factor, which is a 25% increase compared to the initial aircraft".
The aircraft structures have been reinforced: "The main spars of the wing, the connection to the fuselage and the central spar have been redesigned and some aluminum alloys have been modified in order to take account of the aerodynamic loads, material fatigue as well as corrosion-related aspects. The changes also focus on strengthening the canopy arches, the landing gear, the vertical and horizontal empennage, including its connection to the fuselage, the propeller, the braking system as well as the instrumentation and fuel system" explained Carl Mengdehl, Sonaca Aircraft Engineering & Certification Manager.
A certified aircraft which has been specially designed for intensive use
"By integrating all these changes, Sonaca Aircraft wishes to offer flight schools and flying clubs a modern and certified aircraft which is suitable for professional and intensive use", said Pierre Van Wetter, Sonaca Aircraft Pilot and Chief Commercial Officer.
Production of the SONACA 200 is scheduled to begin in June 2017.