The first conforming prototype of the Ibis Aerospace Ae270 turboprop single (S/N 5) took to the air for the first time on February 25 for nearly one hour. The flight routine included gear cycling, steep banks and climb and short-field landing characteristics. The main difference between this third flying Ae270 and the other two flying Ae270s is its Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66A engine.
The Wrights knew it. So does every aeronautical engineer, aircraft manufacturer and pilot. More than anything else, the engine defines the performance of the airplane.
Italy’s Vulcanair last month completed the first series of flights of its single-turboprop, unpressurized VF600W turboprop single. The 10- to 16-passenger, 8,700-lb-mtow airplane is powered by a 777-shp Walter (Czech) turboprop engine. The airplane, which Vulcanair hopes to price starting at $1 million (IFR), would compete most directly with the $1.5 million Cessna Caravan.
Premier Aircraft of East Alton, Ill., has entered an agreement with Honeywell Aerospace to upgrade the existing TFE731-3-1C and TFE731-3D-1C engines installed on Falcon 50s to a TFE731-4-1C configuration. Premier will market, develop, engineer and certify the “50Dash4” upgrade, which includes engine installation, related hardware and cockpit instrumentation.
At last month’s NBAA Convention, Spirit Wing Aviation of Edmond, Okla., announced that it will begin producing its “virtually new” Spirit-Lear early next year. The company said the $2.2 million SpiritLear–a re-engined Learjet 25–will be priced lower than any other airplane offering its combination of speed, range and passenger capacity.
The FAA has granted several supplemental type certificates (STC) to Standard Aero for upgrades to aircraft powered by the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop, including the Cheyenne I, IA, II and IIXL and King Air F90.
Standard Aero has entered a five-year purchase agreement with Pratt & Whitney Canada for 500 aircraft engines as part of its PT6A-135A, -42 and -52 upgrade program.
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.
A $20,000 deposit will secure a delivery slot for the D-Jet, a proposed five-seat, all-composite single-engine jet that Diamond Aircraft hopes to fly next year, certify in 2006 and sell for $850,000. Engine and avionics suppliers have yet to be announced. The company, with facilities in London, Ontario, and Wiener Neustadt, Austria, currently builds composite single- and twin-engine piston aircraft.
Avcon Industries recently announced it has received FAA RVSM group approval for 20-series Learjets using a modification package that the company has been developing for the last two years.