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Video - Friedrichshafen, a new look at general aviation

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All 630 exhibitors at the Friedrichshafen airshow in Germany have set up stall at Europe’s biggest general aviation dedicated show.

Gliders, helicopters, microlights, autogyros, single or twin-engined planes, and small business jets ; all of them eagerly awaited by the expected 30,000 visitors from 15th to 18th April; and two-thirds of them, being highly knowledgeable private pilots, have lots to choose from.

This year, some might also be tempted by the latest up-market, carbon composite construction, twin-engined DA62 from the Austrian manufacturer, Diamond Aircraft. Thanks to its almost 3-metre (10 feet) long cabin, and a bench seating arrangement in the rear, the DA62 can accommodate up to seven passengers. First deliveries are expected by the end of the year. Price: around a million euros - excluding tax.

If you prefer, just to try your hand first, and at a tenth the price of the DA62, there is also the ‘‘WattsUp’’, from Slovenian manufacturer Pipistrel. Designed and developed in partnership with Siemens, as a training aircraft, this battery powered, electric two-seater has an autonomy of 1½ hours, and is expected to be marketed this year.

Finally, the Swiss manufacturer SEA (Swiss Excellence Airplanes) lifted the veil on the ‘‘Risen’’. This two-seater microlight can reach 350 km/h (220 mph) and has an operating range of 1,500 kilometres (950 miles). With its leather interior, carbon-fibre structure, and latest avionics, the Risen is looking to play in the big league. Having hardly just been presented to the public, the aircraft is already on sale - that's Swiss watchmaking precision for you - asking price: 200,000 euros.

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