Thatcher CX4 Expecting a Big Brother
New two-place Thatcher, CX5 announced
By Peter Beck, EAA 19566, firstname.lastname@example.org
As a result of the single-place Thatcher CX4’s success and due to overwhelming builder demand, Dave Thatcher and his Thatcher Aircraft company will offer a two-place version of the CX4 later this year. As is his normal style, Dave has been quietly working away, building the new prototype, drawing the plans for the past year, and keeping things under wraps.
Called the CX5, the plane is a two-place design with tandem seating. It will carry a big, American-style, fast-food-fed pilot up front and a big passenger who will have his own set of controls. So the cockpit room will be even more generous than the CX4, and it will have a shoulder width of 28.5 inches at the longerons, 30" to the exterior skin. The CX5 will be sport pilot eligible and powered by the 85-hp Revmaster R-2300. Of course the plane is larger and more sophisticated than the CX4 having fuel tanks located in the wings, utilizing an engine-driven fuel pump. The general appearance of the CX5 will preserve the CX4’s curves as well as all-around good looks, and it should be an excellent trainer for the single-seat CX4.
The CX5 will be offered with both tri-gear and conventional (tailwheel) configurations.Requests from many interested builders have been heard! The last large-volume tailwheel aircraft model of any kind ceased to be manufactured half a century ago, and whether or not tailwheels are more difficult to handle than tri-gears, the time, effort, expense, and limited availability of tailwheel endorsements are certainly challenges for many. Although a smart thing to have, a tailwheel endorsement isn’t required for experimental aircraft unless passengers are to be carried. FAR 61.31 Scroll to the bottom to see the exceptions. ~Pat
The plane is designed to have approximately the same wing loading (10 pounds per square foot) and power loading (14 pounds per horsepower) as the CX4. Consequently, performance and handling qualities are expected to approximate those of the CX4 (120-mph cruise, 800 feet/minute rate of climb, etc.), although it will be a larger, heavier plane. An electrically powered split flap under the center section will assist in steeper, power-controlled approaches if desired.
Design work on the CX5 is nearly complete, and construction of two prototypes is under way – one in Dave Thatcher’s Thatcher Aircraft shop in Pensacola, Florida, and one in Peter Beck’s CX4 Works shop in Louisville, Kentucky.
Plans and unique components and assemblies will be available to plans-builders. Plans will be released only after the airplane has been flown and completely flight-tested. Kits are also expected to be available at that same time. One of the prototypes is being used to define computer numeric control (CNC)-milled and -punched kit parts, and kit production will be supported by CX4 Works and its current machining and manufacturing partners.
Materials/parts lists and construction costs can be defined precisely only when prototypes have been completed. At present, however, it appears that “all up, ready to fly,” plans-built costs will be well under $25,000, while kit-built all-up costs shouldn’t exceed $30,000.
The CX5 can be expected to perpetuate the CX4’s fine reputation for the best good looks and highest cost effectiveness in its class.