TraqPak data released yesterday by aviation specialized services firm Argus shows that business aircraft flight activity last month rose 8.5 percent from a year ago. On an adjusted month-over-month basis, traffic climbed 12.9 percent from February.
Kunovice, Czech Republic-based Evektor last week rolled out its EV-55 Outback, a nine- to 14-seat, high-wing twin turboprop. First flight of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21-powered utility airplane is planned for the third quarter, two years behind the company’s original schedule.
An Embraer Brasilia operated by Darwin, Australia-based regional airline Airnorth crashed during a training flight this morning at around 10 a.m. local time, killing the two pilots at the controls. The 30-seat turboprop, used in both scheduled and charter passenger service, reportedly crashed soon after takeoff from the RAAF base Darwin, which shares its runway with Darwin International Airport.
In mid-December Evektor ran the EV-55 Outback’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21 engines for the first time. During the test run at Kunovice Airport in the Czech Republic, “engines and propellers performed properly,” the company reported.
The ongoing worldwide need for helicopters of all types that serve diverse industry and government segments is helping keep manufacturers like Rolls-Royce busy. Current Rolls-Royce engine programs include the RR500 turboshaft and turboprop, the already certified RR300 and the venerable M250. The LHTEC T800 partnership with Honeywell also remains active, with four first flights last year.
Before the long-delayed first flight of the A400M, the new airlifter’s TP400 turboprop was flown 18 times on a C-130 flight test bed (FTB) modified and flown by Marshall Aerospace. During a presentation to the UK’s Royal Aeronautical Society last October, Marshall’s chief test pilot Iain Young and flight test engineer Rob Boyle described the challenging task.
Although pre-owned business aircraft sales are nowhere near the peaks of 18 months ago, the inventory of used aircraft is beginning to recede, according to statistics released by industry data provider Amstat.
When it acquired Czech-based Walter Engines in 2008, General Electric signaled to the industry that it was significantly boosting its commitment to the turboprop community. Renamed GE Aviation Czech, the company moved into a 135,000-sq-ft facility in Prague that includes CNC machining centers, EDM and NDT capability and a new surface-treatment plant.
GE Aviation, which bought Walter Engines last year, has selected Premier Turbines as a designated repair center in North and South America for the M601 and upcoming H80 turboprop engines. The M601 will continue to be overhauled at GE Aviation Czech’s facility in Prague.