A traveller, a trainer and a pure recreational flying delight, the Alto 912TG from Direct Fly is not just another Czech LSA. This beautifully-designed aircraft has a whole lot going for it, as I found out when I caught up with Rob Hatswell from AeroEdge Australia, the new Australian distributor for this remarkable machine.

All-metal, low-wing and powered by a 100hp Rotax 912 ULS, the Alto will instantly prick up the ears of anyone looking for an aircraft to call their own, be it for touring cross-country or buzzing around at home. Built in Czechia, a country quickly becoming a powerhouse of light aircraft production, the build quality of the Alto is exceptional. “It’s extremely well-made,” Rob told me. “All the panels are riveted and bonded, so there’s no vibration, no rattles.” It’s a fantastic looking plane, but it’s down in the details where the Alto begins to shine.

“It’s very light,” Rob said when I first asked him about the Alto, and light it is. Thanks to its aluminium construction, the Alto weighs in at 310kg empty, with an MTOW of 600kg. A respectable fuel capacity of 95L means the Alto boasts around 219kg usable load, ensuring two passengers and luggage shouldn’t be an issue for those intending to travel.

Performance-wise, the Alto continues to tick boxes. The semi-monocoque wing spans a tidy 8.2m (26.9ft) and when coupled with the Rotax 912 ULS, produces a cruise speed of around 110kn and a best climb of 1020ft per minute at 60kn. For the travellers among us, an endurance of 4.2hrs (plus 30 minutes reserve) will guarantee the Alto will likely only need to touch back down when you need to take a break yourself.

If you’re liking what you’re hearing, just wait until you jump in the cockpit. To me, one of the best parts of the Alto is its unique canopy system that slides forward on a rail, eliminating the fear of wind catching your canopy completely. Once you’re in, the first thing you’ll notice is how roomy the 1.1m (43in) cockpit is for a small plane. Sliding the clear canopy back just makes it feel roomier too, with nothing obstructing your view to make you feel boxed in.

In the air, the Alto is forgiving to fly, thanks to its well-built dual stick-and-rudder system. Clear thought has been put into ergonomics too as all flight controls are easily accessible, making it a solid option as a training aircraft. With its streamlined look, it’s certainly one that students will be all too keen to pose with after their first solo too.

Its smooth lines and sleek styling place the Alto amongst some of the better-looking planes in the LSA category but, as Rob tells me, it comes at a fraction of the price. “It’s just a bit over $130,000 fly away. That’s with GST, rego and full instruments,” he said. With other aircraft of its calibre starting around $160,000, the Alto is both an affordable aircraft as is, and the perfect base for those wanting to add a full glass dash.

Numbers aside, you really have the opportunity to make the Alto your own. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of this aircraft is the manufacturer’s openness to cosmetic customisation at no extra cost. There are an incredible number of decals on offer, and they’re willing to paint the Alto just about any colour, as long as you provide the colour code. “That’s a real breath of fresh air. Anything you ask for, they just go ‘Yeah no problem, we can do it’” Rob tells me.

Rob’s company, AeroEdge Australia, is the distributor of the Alto in the Australian market. Based out of Gawler Airport in SA, Rob is confident that the Alto will be making its mark in no time. A beautiful, affordable and fun option for private owners and flight schools alike, the Alto is looking perfectly poised to reach new highs in Aussie skies.