Founded this past April, AeroCourier Group of Minneapolis is developing the AeroCourier, a single-turboprop utility airplane specifically designed for easy loading and unloading of LDX cargo containers. According to Paul Jackson, president and marketing officer, the company has signed an agreement with Indonesian Aerospace (formerly IPTN) to do the detail design of the 8,400-lb (mtow) airplane and build up to 1,500 shipsets of fuselages and wings. The project is now in the initial design phase. “We are giving the Indonesians the parameters for the airplane and they are doing the detail work,” said Jackson, who is also a Southwest Airlines captain and 10,000-hr pilot. “AeroCourier is in charge of management of the project and certification of the airplane. We also plan to assemble the fuselage and wings and install the engine, avionics and other components in the U.S.” Wichita and Enid, Okla., are under consideration for assembly sites. All flight testing will be done in the U.S., probably from AeroCourier’s facility on Augusta Municipal Airport, about 20 mi east of Wichita.
Working with a three-year plan that began in July, Jackson said certification of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-114A-powered AeroCourier is planned for July 2004. He estimated the production-conforming prototype would fly in June 2003. Targeted price is about $1 million. The company’s Web site is www.aerocouriergroup.com.