Sunday, March 6, 2016

Cobalt's CO50 Valkyrie | Advanced Aviation Technology for the Private Sector

Cobalt Valkyrie CO50

Looking much more like a higher-tech fighter than a light plane designed for private use, the Valkyrie from Cobalt Aircraft has just been launched. With a canard front wing, sleek aerodynamic shape and a turbocharged 350 hp (260 kW) engine, the new Valkyrie is claimed to be capable of traveling at speeds of up to 260 knots (482 km/h, 300 mph) and has the capacity for up to five adults and their luggage.

Produced in two models, the CO50 is a fully-certified version capable of being flown unrestricted and with an estimated delivery time of mid-2017 while the Valkyrie-X is a factory-constructed experimental-certified aircraft with an estimated production time of six months from the date of order.

After an extended time in the design and construction phases, the Valkyrie is the brainchild of David Loury, the founder and chief executive officer of Cobalt who has assembled a team of designers, builders, and service folks in facilities in San Francisco, California, Paris, France, and Saguenay, Canada in preparation for construction and delivery.

Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 Sleek Design

"Ten years ago, I had a vision to disrupt the aviation industry with an innovative private aircraft, that is not only technologically sound and safe, but also design-centric and luxurious," said Loury. "Today, Cobalt is no longer just a prototype. It's a world-class aircraft, complete with advanced safety, technology, and modern design features for travel-loving consumers and aviation enthusiasts."

The Valkyrie utilizes a canard design (where there is a small forewing at the front of the aircraft), which is a popular option for various light aircraft, such as the Vertex Hybrid Drone, or other pusher-type aircraft, such as the P.1HH HammerHead, because it adds stability and improves lift, especially in less traditionally-proportioned aircraft.

Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 canard
Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 canard

Sporting a single, rear-facing, piston engine driving a three-blade carbon-fiber pusher propeller, the Valkyrie is claimed to be able to cover more than 1,400 nautical miles (1,600 mi/2,590 km) at 220 knots (253 mph/407 km/h) in economy mode with a pilot and one passenger. This distance decreases as the number of passengers or speed increases, but even fully-loaded and traveling at maximum speed, the Valkyrie is still claimed to be able to travel more than 840 km (520 mi) before refueling.

Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 carbon fiber pusher propeller
Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 carbon fiber pusher propeller

Also claimed to have the biggest, single-piece canopy on the planet, the Valkyrie's massive, forward-tilting glasshouse cabin not only gives access to the leather-appointed interior, it also gives a 320-degree view for the pilot and passengers alike. The exterior is crafted from composites and is obtainable in a range of colors, which includes dark hues Cobalt says are not typically achievable in such components.

Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 Silver
Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 | Chrome for Maximum Bling

Decked out with a huge array of modern day electronic displays on the dashboard, there is also a dedicated space for an iPad. As for storage, Cobalt states that there is more than ample room for golf clubs, skis, and suitcases. Each model measures 30 ft (9.1 m) extended, 30 ft wide and 10 ft (three m) high.

Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 Instrumentation
Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 Instrumentation
Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 Interior
Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 Prototype Interior

Standard with retractable landing gear, the Valkyrie models also come with an optional bonus feature in the form of a rescue parachute. Deployable in the case of catastrophic failure or total loss of aircraft control, the parachute system is capable of lowering the entire aircraft and its passengers safely to the ground.

Cobalt Valkyrie CO50 Side View

Pre-orders have just been opened, and an experimental Valkyrie-X version can be had for US purchasers as early as the middle of 2016 for a US$15,000 deposit now and the remainder of the $595,000 total when the craft is prepared for delivery. The ultimate, fully-certified version will be accessible by the middle of 2017 and set you back around $699,000, before additional options of course.