From 2005 to 2009, I sold aircraft for the light aircraft manufacturer Liberty Aerospace out of Melbourne, Florida, where I was initially a Regional Sales Manager & Demonstration Pilot, and then later Business Development Manager.
Liberty Aerospace (which later became Discovery Aviation) manufactured the Liberty XL-2, a highly advanced two-place trainer & touring aircraft made with a carbon fiber fuselage and aluminum wings. It is a modular aircraft with advanced avionics (at that time), excellent visibility, a roomy and extremely comfortable interior, and highly responsive push-rod flight controls throughout. It was also the world’s first piston-engined aircraft ever certified by the FAA with a full FADEC electronic ignition system (FADEC = Full Authority Digital Engine Control). This FADEC system manages the entire engine and does a great job at it, providing Single Lever Power Control for the pilot and doing away with the need for any fuel mixture or carburetor controls in the cockpit.
The aircraft is an absolute joy to fly, I loved what I was doing, and while with the company I accumulated over 1,500 hours of flight time in the XL-2, flying the aircraft all over the USA in every possible flight environment you can imagine. The bulk of my flying consisted of sales tours, demo flights and airshow flights, but I also got to wear my CFI cap (Certified Flight Instructor) and provide transition training for literally hundreds of new and wanna-be XL-2 pilots.
Transitioning new XL-2 owners into their aircraft was always great fun, but being a modern light aircraft it can feel quite different for a pilot who has limited experience spent mostly in old training aircraft with sloppy-handling cable-driven controls. Ninety percent of them do just fine after they understand the basics and realize that they are flying a highly responsive aircraft that will go exactly where they command it to. The other 10% just need a little more time and instruction.
XL-2 TRANSITION TRAINING PROGRAM
Whether you are a new XL-2 owner just getting to know your aircraft, or a current but rusty XL-2 pilot who needs to get re-acquainted with their flying machine, my Liberty XL-2 Transition Training Program offers factory–derived procedures and techniques aimed at getting you fully competent with, and comfortable in, your aircraft.
My program is a structured two-day course with both ground school and flight components. It covers practically everything an owner-pilot would typically want – and need – to know about their aircraft, in order become competent and confident in it.
Ground School: This includes a thorough review of the entire aircraft and how it is built, detailed information about the unique FADEC Full Authority Digital Engine Control system, and information about the numerous safety features of the XL-2. Although I am not an A&P, from my experience with the aircraft I am also able to offer extensive information about the typical technical and maintenance issues that may arise with the aircraft during ownership, and how to resolve them.
Flight Training: This part of the program is structured to ensure that we are not wasting time or money by just “flying around aimlessly”. All the basics are covered — standard and advanced flight maneuvers, control co-ordination airwork, stalls, traffic pattern procedures, all take-off and landing operations (especially cross-wind takeoffs & landings), and some useful cross country techniques.
The course also covers typical emergency procedures and how best to handle them in this aircraft.
After the successful conclusion of your training, I provide a Liberty XL-2 Training Completion Certificate that may help lower your insurance premiums (no guarantee on this as it depends on various factors, but a 5-10% discount is not uncommon if you receive my transition training around the time you start out in your XL-2, call your insurance provider in advance and ask them what they might offer).
WHY GET PROFESSIONAL FLIGHT TRAINING?
Although there have been a few XL-2 incidents and accidents due to mechanical causes, they are extremely rare.
As with most light aircraft accidents it’s the Human Factor that gets us. I estimate* that approximately 90% of the problems experienced by pilots in the XL-2 are due to pilot error. Doors not latched properly prior to takeoff, running off the end of a perfectly good runway on landing, bounced landings leading to loss of control of the aircraft, and botched crosswind landings are just some of the unnecessary causes of bent aircraft.
(* – This is my personal estimate based on my experience with, and knowledge of, the XL-2 fleet worldwide, and is not an official factory or NTSB number).
My XL-2 Transition Training Program is designed to ensure that you learn the proper techniques that in turn develop into safe habits. This will go a long way to ensuring that you are able to have the most fun with your aircraft without becoming one of those accident or incident statistics.
Please Note: My XL-2 Transition Training Program is a VFR-based program. As I rarely fly IFR these days, I consider myself rusty in that environment. Should you specifically require in-depth IFR training from me in your aircraft, I would require time to get back to speed via an IPC. However I could cover most of the basic IFR procedures in the XL-2 with you, from the position of Safety Pilot.
THIS COURSE ASSUMES …
It’s worth mentioning that this course assumes that you are a reasonably proficient pilot and do not require re-training in standard flying skills and procedures. If you do require that level of re-training, (and there’s no shame in that, many of us do especially if we’ve been away from flying for a while) then you will find me to be a patient and supporting instructor for that purpose. However just be aware that this may require additional flight and/or ground training time which could spill over into another day (or more if required) in order for you to become fully proficient in the aircraft.
PINCH HITTERS MINI-COURSE
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation first introduced their Pinch Hitters course over 50 years ago, designed to teach aircraft passengers to be ad hoc co-pilots. Since then, many lives have been saved, equipment preserved and a love of flying born right there in the co-pilot’s seat.
If you feel you would like your non-pilot significant other, child or flying buddy to receive an hour or two of fun third-party primary flight training, I can usually build this into your XL-2 training weekend. After their training, I absolutely guarantee that they will be equipped to participate better and have more fun when you are flying together. And isn’t sharing the joy of flight what it’s all about?
WILL THIS TRAINING SATISFY THE FAA FLIGHT REVIEW REQUIREMENT?
The requirements for a thorough FAA Flight Review, previously called a “Biannual Flight Review” or ‘BFR’ for short, include some subject matter that is typically not covered in a standard Transition Training Program such as this one. If you wish to have your Flight Review included within your XL-2 transition training program, this can be done with prior planning. Including the Flight Review material may limit the time available for adding the Pinch Hitter course mentioned above, and there is an additional but nominal cost added to the standard training program.
Usually we block out a weekend with reasonable weather and fly 3-5 hours per day depending on your pilot skill level and requirements.
I typically fly in (commercially) to your location to do the training at your home field. You will learn to handle your aircraft within your local flying environment, on your runways, and with your local wind conditions. You know that wind that blows across the end of the airport, hits the trees and then knocks you sideways just as you flare across the threshold? Don’t worry, we’ll figure that one out too!
For the XL-2 Transition Training Program, I charge a flat daily rate for my services plus travel & accommodation expenses, regardless of how much we fly per day. I don’t charge you extra if you decide you need a few more hours than expected. And in order to keep my rates fair, I travel light & don’t require fancy accommodations. Because each customers’s requirements are unique, I also don’t publish ‘standard rates’ on my web page. Instead, I provide a personalized quote after I have spoken with the customer and determined their specific needs. For example, I might discount my daily rate for a client who requires more than the typical two-day training program.
HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
If you are ready to learn more about flying your XL-2 and want to become far more confident in flying it, click here to use my contact page and let me know how I can assist you. I will usually get back to you with a quote within 24 hours.
I guarantee that you will learn things about the Liberty XL-2 that you never knew, and you may also learn valuable flying techniques that will make you a better and safer pilot, both in the XL-2 and in any other light aircraft you may fly in the future.
Some of my credentials for this training program include:
– FAA Licensed COMM AMEL&S CFII since 1978
– Over 40 years and 4,600 hours of accident & incident-free light aircraft flying in South Africa, Central America and the USA.
– Over 1,500 hours as CFI/CFII
– Over 1,500 hours of flight experience in the Liberty XL-2
– Over 1,750 hours combined bush, mountain and float-plane experience in rugged terrain including Guatemala, Alaska and the Caribbean.
You will be able to review my complete flight experience resume when I respond to your request for training.
Past client recommendations are available on request.