Development of the 10-passenger, single-turboprop S-22 by agplane builder Air Tractor of Olney, Texas, slowed last year due to the company’s focus on providing a highly modified version of its AT-802 to the U.S. government for drug crop eradication in Colombia, according to Kristin Snow, communications director and daughter of founder and president Leland Snow.
Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6
Reims Aviation, one of Europe’s few remaining independent light aircraft manufacturers and subcontractors, has been saved from bankruptcy. The Reims, eastern France commercial court lifted the bankruptcy protection order on the company but said it should be broken up and sold in two parts, with 164 of the 461 employees losing their jobs.
At least one manufacturer of turbine singles believes it has waited long enough for Europe’s Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) to adopt proposed rules (NPA-29) setting out the requirements for JAA-member states to approve commercial operations in singles in IFR conditions (SEIFR). In fact, Switzerland-based Pilatus Aircraft decided to take the matter into its own hands.
The NTSB continues its investigation into a fatal crash April 24 that killed the pilot when his TBM 700 turboprop single hit a 38-foot telephone pole, then burst into flames a half-mile short of Runway 18 at Mobile Downtown Airport, Ala., at 8:10 p.m. VMC prevailed at the time.
In the aftermath of July’s well publicized engine-out ditching of a Pilatus PC-12 in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Russia, industry observers are asking how this and other recent accidents have affected the statistical reliability of single-engine turboprops and if sales of these aircraft are suffering.
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.
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.
When Piper introduced the Meridian in 2001, it marked the return of the Vero Beach, Fla.-based manufacturer to the turboprop market and the end of a nine-year hiatus since the Cheyenne production line went quiet in 1992.
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.
Ibis Aerospace expects to have its second prototype (S/N 003) flying on November 2 for a demonstration to the board of directors, as long as the weather cooperates in Prague. The single turboprop’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A was being tested last month in preparation for the flight. Earlier this year the company said the airplane would fly in February, then June and then September.