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Extra 400 upgrade project - call for advice

Hi Howard
Thank you very much for your friendly response. It is UK law and in UK jurisdiction.
I’d rather handle the rest offline for obvious reasons. Here is my email address and please let me know how to contact you by phone.
Thanks again and have a nice day

LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

You have mail.


Flying a TB20 out of EGTR
Elstree (EGTR), United Kingdom

You mean: You’ve got mail!


An Extra 400 was parked at EGKA the other day… a rare sample

A few years ago I bumped into a hired pilot of one of these whose job was flying a Russian around his nightclub empire in Europe.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I think they are funny looking planes and with what I think are cramped cockpits, but they are apparently very capable and people really love them. They are certainly distinctive.

Flying a TB20 out of EGTR
Elstree (EGTR), United Kingdom

@Flyingfish ’s E400 is now undergoing flight testing around Bonn Hangelar following extensive refurbishing. I wish he would post the story here, but I have the feeling he has been way too busy.


Aviathor: I got an alert that you mentioned me so here I am :-)

N121AG is indeed a challenging project. Learnt a LOT and happy to share.
I have already flown in the plane. We have 2 pending issues (one is a cylinder showing abnormal CHT and the other is a coolant temperature probe that is not available despite JPI’s promises. If you want lousy support in Europe, this is the way to go. I wish Garmin had an engine monitor already…)

On the positive side: the plane is an absolute blast to hand fly. It is truly a pilot’s aircraft, one you reluctantly hand over to the autopilot.
The only things I dislike are:
1. nose heaviness due to poor W&B design (the plane was obviously designed as a turboprop and V1 got a piston engine that weighs way too much. CG easily slips out of the forward limit and the aft 75% of the CG range is unreachable no matter how much you load the cabin.
2. heavy heaviness: this carbon-fiber plane weighs 1518 Kg empty. Did they mix lead in the resin or what?
3. corresponding handling at take-off and to a lesser extent landing. The nose really wants to go down all the time.
4. STEC55X autopilot. Only climb mode available is VS. This is very dangerous…

On the “budget” side, the Extra 400 is not for the faint of heart. Serious investment is needed to tame it.
Don’t buy one without immediately throwing out the Honeywell avionics (stupidly expensive to repair, I warned you!) and earmarking 100K€ for this subproject. And don’t expect the landing gear to behave unless you dismantle it and upgrade it to the latest engineering revison with reinforced parts. Very expensive too but indispensable.

I also did the prop (now the plane no longer looks like a “female Extra 500”, overhauled/blueprinted the engine. and all accessories.
Welcome to the not so cool world of water-cooled cylinders and get ready for Continental’s “manufacture to order” spare part availability.
3 months for a spare cylinder is typical… I intend to order a couple spares as soon as Conti have stabilized their new manufacturing process.

I also had the interior refurbished but got badly ripped off … this is now a case court so I can’t talk about it…
Paint is next and hopefully last.

At the end of the day, I am the proud pilot of a pressurized FIKI aircraft that has a state of the art panel, will carry 4 people and luggage in great comfort at 200+ knots and above most European weather and puts a big smile on my face every time I have the gear retracted.

Happy? Oh yes, without any reservation. I would do it again in a heartbeat. What else?
You gotta sit in the cockpit and fly this plane to understand. And keep your DA40 until your Extra 400 is tested and ready to fly away!

Last Edited by Flyingfish at 21 Oct 18:56
LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

At least your plane is visible on Wikimedia. Don´t think many can claim that.

Yea, looking forward to see some pics. I usually put mine on my server and cross-reference them here as linked images, but uploading should work too.

Congrats to finishing your project! Have fun!

LSZH, Switzerland

Mooney_Driver: this is the “old” N121AG.
It now has suntanned legs and a male prop.

LSGG, LFEY, Switzerland

[ Pics fixed – Peter ]

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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