Turboprop manufacturer Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) believes that European regional airlines’ ardor for the 50-seat regional jet may be cooling and wants to take advantage of the situation. “Some European operators are thinking again about turboprops,” the French-Italian airframer’s general secretary, Jean-Pierre Cousserans, told AIN.
Turbine-engine technology development is going in two directions. One is the development of new technology to push the envelope of performance, operational safety, maintainability and reliability. The other is to refine and update existing engines for long-term use, especially in light of more stringent Stage 4 requirements and existing Stage 3 rules.
LoneStar Propjets of Waco, Texas, has received an STC to replace the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprops on the King Air 90 through C90 series with Prague-designed Walter M601E turboprops and Avia Hamilton five-blade propellers. The converted airplane, known as the “Power 90,” has a “substantial increase in both climb and cruise performance,” according to LoneStar.
First shown as a model at a 1990 Moscow exhibition, the single-turboprop M-101T Gzhel is nearing Russian certification, expected by the end of the year, following a major airframe refinement program that was launched two years ago after tests on the first prototype. A product of the Myasishchev Experimental Design Bureau, the program was delayed for a year by the crash of one aircraft after a loss of lateral control.
A big mission for a big company usually means a big airplane with a cavernous interior and enough fuel to carry a large load over thousands of miles. But to accomplish that there is always a cost-benefit compromise. When a big mission appears for a small company, the economics often translate into a small airplane, which means even more mission compromises.
Trade and marketing consultants Garsol Management Innovators of Makati City, the Philippines, have announced plans for the formation of an international flying school at Clark Field. This former U.S. Air Force base was abandoned some 10 years ago following the eruption of nearby Mount Pinatubo, which deposited large quantities of volcanic ash on the field.
The Regional Airline Association has urged the FAA to expand its consultations with airlines on domestic reduced vertical separation minimums (DRVSM) to include regional jet operators “to enable an accurate assessment of the costs, benefits and impact on regional airlines.” In a comment to the FAA’s rule proposal, submitted August 8, RAA recommended that the agency amend the rule’s implementation date to ensure that RJs in the U.S.
The turboprop variant of the Extra-400, a pressurized six-seat, all-composite airplane built by Extra Flugzeugbau in Hunxe, Germany, made its first flight on April 26, but on April 30 after a 30-min flight the two test pilots on board were forced to make a landing short of the runway. Handling problems were the cause and the damage was minor, according to Tan Siekmann of Extra.
Italy’s Vulcanair expects to begin flying its single-turboprop VF600W by the end of this month, according to Remo De Feo, president of the company’s Manassas, Va.-based distributor. The fuselage of the nine-seat, 8,600-lb-mtow airplane was derived from the Vulcanair SF600A Canguro and its high wing from the Vulcanair 600 Viator. The airplane is powered by a Walter M601F-11 turboprop engine.
The next-generation version of the Pilatus PC-12 is certified and deliveries have begun, so the single-engine turboprop is dropping off the In The Works chart.