Farnborough Kestrel Could Be Built by Liberty
Farnborough Aircraft director Adrian Norris said this week at the NBAA Convention that his company is in discussions to have Liberty Aircraft produce the all-composite Kestrel turboprop single at its manufacturing plant in North Carolina. Liberty currently manufactures the all-composite XL2 piston single. Farnborough has been flying a nonconforming Kestrel prototype since July 2006 and has amassed 250 hours of flying time. That aircraft was manufactured under contract by the now-bankrupt Epic Aircraft plant in Bend, Ore. Norris said Farnborough was ready to freeze the design and incorporate a few changes, including extending the engine air intake forward and adding a ventral strake to improve lateral stability. Farnborough executives have been talking to Liberty over the last year and exchanging technical and financial information. “The Liberty is built from the exact same Toray carbon fiber that the Kestrel is. It is the only GA manufacturer currently selling that technology,” Norris said. Farnborough is currently seeking an additional $50 million in funding before moving ahead with a decision on a Liberty alliance and construction of a conforming prototype. Norris said the aircraft would likely gain certification within two years once the necessary capital is in place.