This may be one of my favorite airplanes to fly. Well, at least my favorite for training and pleasure flying. Actually, if you only need a two seater, this could do a LOT for you. Whether you’re on a business trip, a $100 hamburger or working on your instrument rating, the Liberty XL2 may be just what you need.
This is a very affordable, but technologically advanced aircraft, typically loaded with everything you need to go from PPL to IR in the same aircraft.
With a fuel burn rate of just 5.0 GPH, most schools have a wet rate around the mid-$90 per hour rate. That’s pretty good considering your usual options at that range are limited to the very cramped Cessna 152 or dated 172. Compare that to the roomy 48″ wide cabin of the XL2 as well as numerous other comforts such as adjustable rudder pedals and a 270 degree view.
With the FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) systems, you don’t have to be concerned with leaning out the engine and your run-ups are a piece of cake. This system not only helps you as a pilot, but helps to keep this engine running at it’s best, which reduces costs for the flight school or local FBO.
The Liberty XL2 aircraft at most flight schools include a very nice glass panel avionics system as well as Garmin WAAS GPS moving maps. All of the XL2 aircraft leaving the factory are IFR certified as well.
This is a very fun and easy to fly aircraft with a center stick and throttle controls on the center console. You’ll also find your brakes on this console, which is a little odd to me. I’m not sure what they don’t like about toe brakes. It’s sometimes a bit ackward to control the throttle and brakes on that console with two different hands. I imagine this is done to make it easier for a CFI to have access to both of these items.
If you’re thinking about taking this out for a fun trip with your wife or a friend, you’ll be happy to know, with the great fuel economy, you’ll have a very long 500 NM range with 65% power (with a 30 minute reserve). At that you’ll be cruising at 113 kts. Not bad for a 5.0 GPH fuel burn and a capacity of 28 US gallons.
The useful load is a very doable 588 lbs with 100 lbs allowable for baggage.
I highly recommend you look around your local rental options and find someone with this fantastic plane. If you happen to be in the South Florida area, I rented from Sunquest Aviation at F45 in the North Palm Beach area. The rate at the time of this writing is just $98/hr and it’s one of the planes they’ve certified for flights to the Bahamas (with some other restrictions in place).