Kestrel Program Could Fly with Liberty Aero’s Help
Farnborough Aircraft business development director Adrian Norris told AIN yesterday at the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., that his UK-based company is contemplating the formation of a partnership with Liberty Aerospace to further develop, certify and manufacture Farnborough’s all-composite Kestrel turboprop single. While he said the deal is “not finalized,” the Kestrel prototype is on display this week at Liberty’s booth at Sun ’n’ Fun, and has been hangared at the light airplane manufacturer’s facility in Melbourne, Fla., since September. According to Norris, Farnborough is seeking an additional $50 million to reach certification and is in “advanced negotiations” on this front. The Kestrel will be certified about three years after funding is secured, he said, meaning entry-into-service in mid-2013 at the earliest. Norris is not taking orders for the $2.8 million airplane until “firm plans” for certification and customer support are developed, although he said interest in the 325-knot, Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67P-powered Kestrel has been “high” at this week’s airshow. To date, the prototype has logged about 260 hours.