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Elixir Plots Expansion into U.S. GA Market

French airframer Elixir Aircraft is making its US debut at EAA AirVenture as it looks to expand into this “huge” general aviation market. The French company is showcasing its two-seat piston-singles, which are billed as a low-cost, “fourth-generation” alternative to its vast inventory of aging light aircraft. Fourth generation refers to Elixir’s oneshot composite manufacturing technology, which uses an injection molding process to create unique structural components.

Cyril Champenois, co-founder and COO of Elixir, described EAA AirVenture as “a must-attend event for ideal platform and general aviation aircraft manufacturers.” The show will “provide a springboard for our expansion into the US, which is, after all, the largest aviation market in the world.”

Although it’s still early days, Elixir is exploring locations for its US headquarters, which will house a final assembly facility with sales and marketing operations. The company has locations in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. “We don’t have a set schedule, but we want to start recruiting [staff] Next year,” said Champenois.

Elixir hopes to secure US Part 23 type certification for its Rotax 912iS-powered model “as soon as possible,” Champagneois said. The $264,000 aircraft received CS-23 approval from EASA in March 2020.

Nine examples have been delivered to Europe-based customers to date, both individual owners and flight schools, and up to 20 will be produced this year, Champagneois said. “We are gradually ramping up production for the European market because there is a lot of demand,” he added, pointing to Elixir’s “increasing” order of more than 50 aircraft. “But the USA will make up the bulk of our demand because aircraft will gain exposure to this huge market, which now represents between 60 and 70 percent of new single-engine piston deliveries each year.” unit in the United States, which is “suitable for replacement with a clean-sheet, modern aircraft.”

Launched in 2015, the 912iS-powered Elixir is designed to fill a gap in the flight-training and owner-operated market for a modern yet simple light aircraft with low operating and maintenance costs. Direct operating costs are approximately $44 per hour. It can carry a payload of 617 pounds, cruise at 130 knots and fly up to 1,000 nm. Fuel capacity is 25 gallons. Avionics are Garmin’s G3X touchscreen system. For added safety, the Elixir is fitted with a BRS emergency parachute system.

Currently awaiting EASA certification, the 915iS-powered Elixir offers a cruise speed of 160 knots at higher altitudes with an extended wingspan (29.33 feet vs. 27.82 feet) and a more powerful 140-hp turbocharged Rotax engine. The larger model, whose price has yet to be determined, is aimed at the owner-pilot market.

Elixir is working with French company Turbotech to develop a hydrogen-electric propulsion system with the goal of certification within six years.

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