Next month marks the 60th anniversary of the birth of one of aviation’s great “might-have-beens.” The start of development of an aircraft that became a source of national pride. The start of an aircraft that could have been a world-beater. I’m referring to Canada’s mighty Avro CF-105 Arrow fighter. But an even more recent anniversary looms on Monday: the 53rd anniversary of its death.
Graham Swannell, CEO; Donald Joseph, president; and Geoffrey Danes, director of operations, research and development–the three principals of Explorer Aircraft–had expected to move into the company’s 14,000-sq-ft “certification facility” in an industrial park on Jasper County (Texas) Bell Field over Christmas.
While Orenda Recip is having success obtaining STCs for its 600-hp V8 turbocharged engine in agricultural and utility aircraft, the same cannot be said for its troubled King Air retrofit program. That program’s STC is now not expected for another 12 months, a delay of one year from the previously rescheduled target date.
Following years of setbacks in trying to complete STCs for the installation of its 600-hp turbocharged V8 piston engine in King Airs and other business airplanes, Orenda Recip has discontinued the program.
Don Joseph, president of Explorer Aircraft in Jasper, Texas, said he is “more optimistic than ever” about the company’s fundraising efforts. “We’re in due diligence with one group and in conversations with two others,” he told AIN. The company has been in a fundraising mode for at least three years during which development of the PT6-powered Explorer has been on hold.
Operators waiting for the long-delayed certification of the Orenda V8 turbocharged piston engine retrofit for the King Air C90 will have to wait a little longer. Orenda officials in Nova Scotia told AIN that the engine installation kit is being redesigned with the aim of making it more “maintenance friendly.” The company is now aiming for an STC by year-end.