AeroCourier Group of Minneapolis plans to introduce a low-wing, single-engine turboprop utility airplane that the company claims will have lower acquisition and operating costs and better performance and specifications than the current leader in the category, the Cessna Caravan. The company is also designing a unique LDX container for the airplane that will be stackable and locked together for “easy loading” into industry-standard containers.
Soloy Corp. has begun certification of its Turbine Pac powerplant conversion for the new Cessna 206H. The conversion installs an original Rolls-Royce 250-C20S turboprop in place of the airplane’s Lycoming IO/TIO-542 piston engine. The Olympia, Wash., firm has delivered more than 75 turbine-powered 1977 to 1986 Cessna 206s and 207s under a current certification.
When Charles Lindbergh began planning one of the first truly long cross-country solo flights in 1927 everyone understood the risks inherent in a 3,000-mile journey in an airplane powered by a single 223-hp Wright J5 engine. Failure meant he’d probably end up as a shark snack. Luckily, he didn’t have the boss on board.
AOG Air Support of Kelowna, B.C., Canada is undertaking a program to convert Cessna 208 Caravans from their original 675-shp P&WC PT6 to the 751-shp Walter M601E turning a five-blade Avia propeller. The company, which expects to complete the program in about 12 months, said the Czech engine and propeller will improve the turboprop single’s performance on both wheels and floats. Conversions are expected to cost $400,000.
Since its first flight on March 29, the first prototype G160 Ranger, German manufacturer Grob-Werke’s second turboprop model, had accumulated more than 20 hours on 20 flights by the middle of last month. Two G160 flight-test aircraft will be used, with the second expected to fly in the fourth quarter of this year.
Ukraine’s Antonov has signed a memorandum of understanding with Xi’an Aircraft (XAC) to help develop a new 70-seat turboprop dubbed the MA700, the Ukrainian airframe maker confirmed last month. Antonov deputy head of marketing Andrii Sovenko told AIN the agreement involves a risk-sharing partnership, details of which the companies planned to discuss during the September 19 to 22 Beijing International Aviation Exhibition.
If you’re looking for evidence the single-engine turboprop is an aircraft whose time has come, Comp Air Aviation (Booth No. 8842) believes its Comp Air 12 is exhibit A. Powered by a 1,650-hp Honeywell TPE331-14GR engine, the Comp Air 12 is voluminous composite eight-place aircraft with a projected cruise speed of 310 knots at 30,000 feet and a maximum range of 2,535 nm with IFR reserves.
While it is the cold, hard numbers that decide our readers’ verdict on how well companies support the products they sell, it is the readers’ written comments that flesh out the picture and help those companies identify where, in their customers’ opinions, they could improve.
In a study titled “The Market for General Aviation/Utility Aircraft 2007-2016,” Forecast International said it anticipates a decline in corporate demand for twin turboprops in favor of the fractional ownership of turbofan-powered aircraft. Further, it expects this trend to accelerate as more sub-$4 million very light jets are delivered.
Pilatus Aircraft (Booth No. 757) unveiled its Next Generation PC-12 here at NBAA’07 yesterday. “We’ve taken a great airframe and changed almost everything from front to back,” said Thomas Hunziker, president and CEO of Pilatus Business Aircraft, introducing the aircraft.