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INTERVIEW: Carving a niche in light aircraft manufacturing

Cyril Champenois and two friends co-founded France-based Elixir Aircraft to plug a gap in the market for a family of clean-sheet piston-singles. which crucially would be cheap to buy, maintain and operateWhat sparked your interest in aviation?I started to take an interest in aircraft when I was about eight years old, but it was seeing two BAC Concordes at Nantes airport during the 1990s that really ignited my curiosity in aviation.How has your career progressed?I have been working in the aerospace sector for 10 years, and it has been very rewarding in terms of learning. From my early days at Dassault Systemes as an engineer to my role as co-founder and head of sales and marketing at Elixir, where I wear a number of hats, including product promotion, quality systems and product life-cycle management – it has been very fulfilling experience.BillyPixWhy did you decide to design and develop a new light aircraft?I discussed a possible light aircraft project with my friend Arthur Leopold-Leger when we were at university in London between 2007 and 2009. At that time, the certificated, light, piston-engined market was largely full of old and expensive models. In 2014, Arthur asked if I would be interested in creating a company to manufacture a new generation of light aircraft. The pilot-training market was ripe for a new design, and with a shortage of commercial airline pilots, there was also a very strong demand. So, Arthur, another friend Nicolas Mahuet and I took the decision to launch Elixir.How does a start-up firm like Elixir make its mark in such a crowded and competitive sector?After 15 years working with aero clubs and flight schools, our team have a good understanding of wh

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