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Extra 400

@lelievre12 I have first hand information from the plane that had “fuel pressure” issues. In reality it was not fuel but a well known weak spot of the EA-400: turbo to intercooler hose disconnect. I have had it once and was able to restart the engine at lower alt.
In this case he probably shut down the engine and then made this forced landing – fortunately with no injuries.
The Extra 400 really is not that bad on runway requirements, as I wrote, 800 meters or 2400 feet is OK (hard surface SL).
The only issue in this respect is that the gear is very draggy, so you have little climb rate until it is retracted. I basically retract on rotation.
On landing, the small wheels and basic brakes require a somewhat longer roll – I am looking at a Beringer upgrade for this.
If you’re interested in the E400 let me know, I can include you in our email exchange community and also find you one if you like what you read. It is really a natural upgrade from the 210.

LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

Je suis intéressé par cet avion que j’hésite encore à acheter vu le peu d’offres et les dommages récents je voudrais échanger avec la communauté merci Pascal

[ google translation by Admin – EuroGA is an English language forum:
I am interested in this plane that I still hesitate to buy given the few offers and recent damage I would like to talk with the community thank you Pascal ]

Lfdt, France

(Hat off to Admin for friendly handling of french speaker.)

Limited number of aircraft offered for sale is easily explained: There are 22 Extra 400s left worldwide.
L’offre limitée s’explique par le nombre total d’avions disponibles: 22 dans le monde.
Contact me and happy to help: flyingfish28(at)gmail(dot)com

LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

One of the few is up for sale with a fresh engine and prop.

ESMK, Sweden

Just did some flight logging: N121AG aka “Galatea” clocked 175 Hobbs hours in the past 12 months and I thought this deserves a little PIREP.

My recipe for keeping it flying is “owner managed maintenance”. I have become a hands-on owner and am taking part actively in the actual maintenance work. I have also decided to proactively address anything that may cause an AOG.

Despite buying quite a few new parts, some of which are just stored as spares, the maintenance budget is now in check.
In my agenda, 2 weeks in March are earmarked “Extra 400 annual”. I fly to Colmar, get into my working outfit and enjoy every bit of the greasy gym experience.
The friendly mechanics there let me do a lot of things myself and we cross check everything so there are always two people at least verifying that nothing is loose – a very relevant issue in this complex engine installation. I think I am at least as involved as someone flying an experimental and at the end of the day it fulfills my dream…
This years’ undertaking was the de-icing system. I got in touch with BF Goodrich and learnt a lot about this system.

The most satisfactory result, with the help of the factory – thank you Christian – is that I can now say that the cooling system is working perfectly. I have already mentioned climb performance so won’t repeat here.

During this phase of flight, the fuel flow is higher than book (between 125 and 130 liters). I think this is one essential element of the successful combination.
It is set so rich that one must lean at low power to avoid choking.
And yet 130 liters is MUCH less than my Columbia 400 friend is feeding her lower powered TSIO 550. Go figure.

I believe this is a benefit of liquid cooling – maximum recorded CHT is 255 F which must be beneficial for detonation margin and therefore require less FF than a much hotter running air cooled cylinder.

EGTs are relatively high at 1500 F, which is about 250 F ROP but really the engine seems happy with these temps and there is no worrisome “creep”.

Talking about detonation margin, I am still hoping to improve inlet air temperature by working on the efficiency of the intercooler. This would translate in better climb performance on hot days and less strain on the engine at very high altitude.

In cruise, I let the engine relax at something like 60% power. It hums beautifully at 2250 RPM, with hardly any vibration. The low fuel burn (71.5 liters) allows me to do my typical 800 NM round trip on a single refueling. This way I can buy cheaper fuel in France and reduce operating cost dramatically.

I like the combination of a very high power climb which is like a “cardio” exercise for the powerplant followed by relaxed cruise. The engine seems to be healthy, with solid compressions.

The sweet spot for cruise is FL180 to 220 where the engine is perfectly happy and the cabin altitude is comfortably low. I like 7000 ft max because of personal limitations.

It also took some time to debug the pressurization system. I am now convinced that the factory design is inadequate and must be modified to reduce leaks and the deadly risk of these cabin air ducts running near the fragile exhaust stack.

The landing gear was also a challenge and my advice to fellow owners in Europe is simple: don’t waste time and money, just take it to the factory. They know things others don’t. Simple as that.

On the “mission capability” I have acquired considerably more confidence in the aircraft.
While I definitely do not like to stay in icing conditions, I am no longer worried when launching into icing, as the climb rate is largely unaffected when operating the full FIKI orchestra, so I get on top in no time at all. What a great moment when the nasty clouds are left below and one flies in glorious sunshine over this harmless-looking white carpet.

The onboard weather radar, nicely complemented by (don’t laugh) the ipad with 4G data connection give me enough avoidance information, and I have found ATC to be very accomodating to requests for headings. Overall, I am still discovering the beauty of operating a capable all weather aircraft – a new experience to me.

On the down side, the slippery airframe is sensitive to icing in cruise. The aircraft will easily lose 10-15 knots with an ice layer that is barely visible and not easy to get rid of. When possible I avoid passing through a harmless cumulus that will “only” paint some light ice on the airframe. This stuff just lingers on and kills airspeed in cruise!

The descent side remains the greatest strength of the Extra 400 – thanks to the very high limiting speeds and liquid cooled engine it can easily keep up with commercial traffic under all circumstances I have met so far.
I just love it when ATC ask an airliner to keep their speed up in final because of the little mosquito on their six!
To give you an idea, on a recent arrival, ATC kept us very high and then gave us a shortcut with a steep descent.
I ended up intercepting the ILS at 228 KTAS and 1600 fpm. It was absolutely awesome and I had a stupid smile lingering on my lips long after landing…

As you can guess from this post I am absolutely in love with the Extra 400. It has profoundly changed my relationship to aviation.
This is not a plane for everyone though – and I hope I made this clear.

LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

Great report. This is such a rare and innovative aircraft that getting direct reports from owners is really useful.

Question : when you say you don’t see a worrying creep in EGT, what is it that you find particularly concerning about that?


Yes, great report, thank you @Flyingfish !

Could you elaborate a bit more on the exhaust stack fragility?

How supportive is the OEM of such a small group of owners?

LESB, Spain

@denopa: in fact I just checked my Savvy Analysis reports. In the climb at 88% power, EGTs are closer to 1400 than 1500.
I would be worried if setting such high power without being far enough from peak EGT (the infamous red fin by John Deakin i think)
In a nutshell: when operated at high power, turbocharged aircraft engines need EGTs to be very deep on the rich side of peak to be safe.
Otherwise detonation can occur. This is aggravated by high inlet air temps and alleviated by low CHTs.
The Extra 400 has very low CHTs so I suppose detonation margin is large, and that would explain the modest fuel flow but there’s really no one to tell us as no one else is using this amazing engine, so I’d rather be VERY safe.
@Antonio: the exhaust stack is stainless steel – it wears out and can develop bulges and cracks. EGTS are routinely near 1600 F on this aircraft and it really needs Inconel to fix the problem once and for all. So far no joy at finding a company willing to clone it in Inconel – advice welcome.
Extra is very good as a maintenance shop which means if you go to them for service. They are obviously very knowledgeable. Otherwise the TC owner is a small German company owned by the mysterious Chinese owner of the Extra 400/500 – they are friendly but only deal with the paperwork side of things.
Sourcing parts is a challenging topic. For N-Reg one can as a last resort have them produced privately (owner produced parts) and stay legal. Not sure if EASA allows that.

Last Edited by Flyingfish at 27 May 17:02
LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

Thank you for your report, Flyingfish.

EGTS are routinely near 1600 F on this aircraft and it really needs Inconel to fix the problem once and for all. So far no joy at finding a company willing to clone it in Inconel – advice welcome.

I would try the usual US firms e.g. Acorn Welding, Dawley Aviation (here), and a few others I can’t think of right away.

They usually say they don’t like Inconel because it is expensive but, hey, who is paying? The Inconel exhausts on the TB GT aircraft last the life of the aircraft.

For N-Reg one can as a last resort have them produced privately (owner produced parts) and stay legal. Not sure if EASA allows that.

@mh should be able to give you the exact process.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I contacted Dawley, see what they have to say
Thank you Peter

LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland
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