Ruag’s new-generation Do 228 on track for 2010 deliveries
Ruag Aerospace, the Swiss company that now holds the type and production certificates for the Dornier 228 NG, recently held its third operators’ conference for the regional and utility turboprop. In February India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) began delivering the first shipset of structural parts to Ruag Aerospace Services at the former Fairchild Dornier plant in Oberpfaffenhofen, less than a year after the companies signed a contract to collaborate on the project to re-launch Do 228 production.
The second shipset of parts–consisting of fuselage, wings and tail unit–is on its way to Ruag by sea from India on time, according to the Swiss company, which plans to deliver its first newly built Do 228 NG early next year.
Ruag began flying an existing Do 228-212 retrofitted with a pair of new five-bladed propellers last September. Designed and manufactured by Germany’s MT Propeller, the new propellers weigh 77 pounds less than the original four-bladed version. Ruag has also replaced a number of minor parts around the airframe to further reduce weight and improve reliability.
In the cockpit, the new Dornier 228 NG will sport an all-glass cockpit with an improved flight management system and a four-screen electronic flight information system from Universal Avionics, as well as radios and navigation equipment from Rockwell Collins. A supplementary type certificate covers the powerplant improvements for the new-generation version, while the new avionics suite already flies in a pair of 228s in service with the Dutch coast guard.
HAL has built the Do 228 for the domestic Indian market since 1988 but now will serve as the program’s most important component supplier. The partners have left open the possibility that HAL could again engage in final assembly, however. By the time Ruag began building the first NG this spring, it had signed firm orders for 10 aircraft, the largest–for five– coming from an Australian regional airline. Other customers, which Ruag says prefer to remain unidentified, hail from Mexico, Japan and Argentina.
This week in Paris, Ruag (Hall 4 Stand B43) announced its assignment as an authorized service center for the Piaggio P180 series business aircraft in service with European and Middle East customers. Plans call for maintenance and overhaul services to take place at Ruag’s Lugano-Agno site in Switzerland. The Swiss company says it is in the process of establishing agreements covering STC development, power-by-the-hour services, cabin refurbishments, market implementation of service bulletins and optimization of aircraft maintenance practices.