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Extra 400

Ok so here we go. This is about the Extra 400.
28 built, 26 still flying. Type Certificate now owned by a Chinese company who probably forgot that they bought it.

The EA400 is Walter Extra’s attack on the PA46 Malibu/Mirage’s monopoly – a pressurized 6 seater “cabin class” aircraft with a water cooled 350 HP engine.
Main differentiators vs the Malibu/Mirage are:
- high wing
- carbon fiber composite construction
- water cooled engine

I have found early specs and early pictures which show that Extra missed their own goal posts massively.
The plane was supposed to be 200 Kg lighter and 30 knots faster. It also had much less opening in the cowling originally.
As it stands an Extra 400 will cruise at 200 knots at FL 180 (mine did this nose landing gear doors open ) on 75% power and probably 220 knots all out at FL250. I suppose this makes it a bit faster than a Mirage.

While its best climb is at 100 knots recommended cruise climb is 120 KIAS. At MTOW you’re looking at 800 ft per minute all the way to FL250.
The “certified” useful load is problematic, in part because of a whopping 64 liters unusable fuel. Typically less than 500 Kg.
It is no mystery that the aircraft was designed for 2130 Kg MTOW though and certified for 1999Kg for obvious reasons. The Extra 500 which uses the same structure is certified for 2130 Kg MTOW. Only difference is a taller tail, related to the higher engine power.

The cabin is very large for this class of aircraft , and the flight deck just great. Roomy, great visibility, well engineered.
Handling is also remarkably pleasant making it a true pilot’s airplane.

LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

Hello!

Congratulations to this pretty aeroplane (developed using “my” tax money – just like many Airbuses). I always liked “cosy” high-wing aircraft like those Extras, the Mitsubishi Mu-2 or the BAE 146/Avroliner/Jumbolino, although I have yet to fly one myself.

What about takeoff and landing distances? How well does it handle icing? How is the situation with engine maintenance and spares as this is not the most common engine out there I guess?

EDDS - Stuttgart

Love the look of the Extra. I’m probably in the minority there, but was really sad the Extra 500 never really took off, so to speak. I hope the new owners one day bring it back to market. It’s a little on the slow side and could probably do with a new engine. The new GE H75 would be a good candidate probably.

We have an Extra 500 thread here

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

what_next wrote:

What about takeoff and landing distances? How well does it handle icing? How is the situation with engine maintenance and spares as this is not the most common engine out there I guess?

Thanks for the wishes what_next.
Take-off and landing
Mine has been rebuilt and flight tested out of EDKB which is a 800 meter runway.
I managed to take-off and land there near MTOW but any shorter would be asking for trouble.
Rotation is 80 KIAS, approach 85. Need to keep some power into the flare.
The plane’s take-off performance really makes me think of a seal. It is sluggish until the gear is retracted and then … great.
An improved prop is available (with Scimitar blades) that should cure the take-off issue.
Mine has it, but we had enough engine issues that I believe we did not do a single takeoff with full power. I will report back once my engine finally works.
How does it handle icing
Honest answer is “I don’t know”. Never got this far in testing yet. It has teflon boots, a heated prop, dual heated pitots and dual heated static ports plus a heated lift reserve detector. FIKI was an option and mine has it.
Engine maintenance
Normal costs for a turbocharged Conti, except a pain in the neck if you break something.
Conti makes the cylinders only on demand (no stock). The only alternative is RAM who sell overhauled cylinders with the ECI coating.
Spark plugs are iridium fine wires from Champion (only source). They are supposed to be “lifetime” but I just ordered 12 new ones.
The cost of such parts is significantly higher than what you’d pay for an air cooled engine.
RAM sell an engine upgrade for Cessna twins which is based upon a very similar version of the TSIOL 550.
Some improved parts can be re-used. I have a RAM camshaft that is claimed to add 10 HP while being more durable.
The great benefits of this engine are that cylinders head temps (should) never reach 300 F, and that one can cut power and literally fall from the sky with no shock cooling issues.

Last Edited by Flyingfish at 22 Jan 23:53
LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

Flyingfish wrote:

The great benefits of this engine are that cylinders head temps (should) never reach 300 F, and that one can cut power and literally fall from the sky with no shock cooling issues.

Well, if the engine temps are only 300℉, you would not be able to shock cool no matter what you do. And with a water cooled engine, you may actually be able to keep the cylinder temperatures hot enough, which is difficult to do when air cooled.

LFPT, LFPN

Update to take-off performance. Now that the cylinder problems have been eradicated (top overhaul), I have absolutely no more negative comments on take-off performance. Acceleration is impressive, and the plane easily gets out of a 800 m runway at sea level.
Mine does have the Scimitar prop and my instructor says it goes stronger than the examples which have the older prop blades. Other owners report a 15% shorter TKOF run with this prop.

More flight impressions: a powerful and yet refined beast, very good behavior in turbulent air.
It takes some getting used to to keep the ball centered and the plane really wants to play if you are game. It likes steep turns and really makes one feel safe and in control.
Very nice and unique combination of a pressurized IFR tourer with a fun VFR toy.

LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

Flyingfish wrote:

whopping 64 liters unusable fuel

How can that even happen??

I intend to investigate this when I meet the guys who got it certified.

I suppose they test for this unusable fuel in uncoordinated flight conditions, such as when you approach wing low in a crosswind (American way).
In this situation the ball is off center because the bank is in one direction and a lot of opposite rudder is used to re-align the AC with the flight path.

LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

Does anyone know where we can obtain the paint codes for the black paint that Extra used on the 500 aircraft. We are purchasing an Extra 400 and want to add some black paint on the sides.
Thank you

ImAV8or
KAUS, KIDP, KADS, United States
79 Posts
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