The Colt burst on the scene in 2019, sporting a suite of safety features including a chromoly steel tube survival cell, Garmin avionics, a Brazilian pedigree, and a factory built in Hondo, Texas, and staffed by U.S. military veterans to turn them out. ASTM certification was achieved mere months after the startup (founded in 2017) went public, and the Colt is now available in three configurations.
The top-of-the-line Colt comes with a suite of Garmin glass including dual G3X displays, a GTN 650Xi display, a G5 electronic flight instrument backup with an integrated three-axis autopilot, a luxury leather interior, and two-tone custom paint, among other features. The base price of that configuration starts at $183,700. Removing one of the G3X displays and opting for a two-axis autopilot, and mixing some vinyl into the interior, drops the starting price to $170,381. That’s still on the steep side for many flight school business models.
“As we come out from under COVID-19 induced flight training restrictions, the operators of several flight schools have come to us asking for an affordably-priced, all-metal, Garmin-equipped training aircraft,” Texas Aircraft Manufacturing CEO Matheus Grande said in a November 23 news release. “Our solution is the highly-advanced and very-affordable entry-level Colt S-LSA, which is priced at $139,900, below the cost of the fully-equipped Colt-S and Colt-SL S-LSA.”
In the entry-level model, a single Garmin G3X display anchors the left side of a more Spartan panel, with steam gauges facing the CFI in the right seat, and the toe brakes are installed on the left-side pedals only (instructors will want to remember this). The leather in this base-model Colt is synthetic, the paint pure white, but in other respects, it’s the same steady airplane that impressed AOPA Pilot Managing Editor Sarah Deener in 2019.
“At our low price, flight schools can now afford to put a state-of-the-art trainer with touchscreen avionics on their flight line for the same hourly rental cost of a much less capable legacy aircraft,” said Chief Operating Officer Caio Jordão, in the news release.