More on handling characteristics & Safety
The flight characteristics of the Stratos 714 are designed for the individual who owns and operates his own aircraft; docile flight characteristics and a low pilot workload are major design drivers. While we anticipate that buyers of the Stratos 714 will include professional pilots, that level of expertise and experience will not be required to safely fly the Stratos 714. The key design attributes which support these flight characteristics include the following:
Stable and predictable flight characteristics
In choosing the configuration of the Stratos, stability was a major design driver. By installing the engine relatively far forward the Stratos has a long tail arm (this is the relative distance between the horizontal tail and wing).
Also the thrust line is close to the center of gravity reducing pitch changes with power changes. This is different than the approach of a many single engine jet manufacturers today with engines mounted far aft, resulting in a relatively short tail arm.
Simple engine management
The Stratos 714 is powered by a single Williams FJ44-3AP and is electronically controlled by FADEC (full authority digital engine controls). With FADEC the engine is controlled by a single lever. To start the FJ44-3AP engine you simply push a button! A single engine design versus twin engine further reduces power and fuel management workload. This significantly reduces pilot workload compared to turbo prop and piston engines which require multiple levers for engine management.
Simple and/or automatic systems
By designing simple and/or automatic systems the pilot workload is further reduced. In addition to the required autopilot, automatic environmental controls and other systems will reduce pilot workload. Our guiding philosophy in designing for safety is to prevent the accident in the first place. In 2005, 76% of all general aviation accidents were attributed to pilot error.
An aircraft with excellent flight characteristics and a low pilot workload contributes significantly to accident prevention. SAI will investigate every available option to enhance safety, and will carefully evaluate its usefulness for the Stratos 714. Minimum pilot experience requirements will be similar to that of today’s VLJ’s. For example, minimum pilot requirements for the Eclipse A500 are a private pilot’s license, an instrument rating, and 500-1000 hours total flight time.
The Stratos 714 will be simpler to operate than the twin engine Eclipse A500, and we believe the Stratos will be easier to fly than the majority of the high performance general aviation aircraft available today. SAI will work with insurance providers to establish pilot minimums, and will provide extensive initial and recurrent training programs.