STOL Transport From Indonesia To Fly Next Year

 - February 12, 2014, 7:00 AM
PT DI’s N219 is a modern answer to the need for rugged, STOL aircraft in outlying areas. (Photo: David McIntosh)

PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI, Indonesian Aerospace) expects to fly its N219 twin-turboprop transport next year. The aircraft has been under development for some time to answer a need for a rugged STOL airliner able to operate in and out of remote, semi-prepared airstrips. At the same time, the N219 is intended to provide cost-efficient and reliable operations through the use of modern avionics and engines.

PT DI has a long history of building the CASA (Airbus Defence and Space) Aviocar under license as the NC212, and is now the sole production source for this aircraft. The Aviocar naturally provided a useful basis for development of a longer and more refined aircraft that can accommodate 19 passengers in a standard 2+1 seating arrangement. Some experience from the abortive IPTN (as PT DI was then known) N250 50-seater regional airliner has also been brought in to the new design.

Compared with the NC212, the N219 is longer and aerodynamically cleaner. The wing is mounted slightly higher to keep cabin intrusion to a minimum, creating what its designers say is the largest cabin available in its class (6.50 x 1.82 x 1.70 meters). The sponson-mounted fixed undercarriage of the Aviocar is replaced by a neater sprung unit. Power is provided by two 850-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42 turboprops. They give a takeoff distance to clear a 35-foot obstacle of 1,427 feet, while landing distance after clearing a 50-foot obstacle is 1,587 feet. PT DI has selected a Garmin flight deck with a five-screen display.

PT DI already has an order for 50 N219s from Indonesian carrier Lion Air, plus 50 options. NBA (Nusantara Buana Air), an NC212 operator, signed for 30 aircraft (including options) in February 2012. As well as airlines, PT DI is targeting military and freight operators with the N219. The aircraft has a flexible door system allowing it to admit bulky items, and the cabin can be reconfigured for various special missions. It has been reported that the Royal Thai Navy has an interest in the N219.