Ibis Aerospace has quashed speculation that Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. (AIDC) is preparing to withdraw its investment in the company’s Ae270 Spirit business and utility turboprop. According to Ibis marketing director Jeff Conrad, some press reports took comments by AIDC top management out of context, and he asserted that the Taiwanese entity has in fact reaffirmed its financial backing for the new single, which is being built in the Czech Republic.
However, Ibis has also confirmed that certification of the Ae270, which first flew in July 2000, has slipped once again and is now expected to take place at the end of the second quarter of this year–an additional six-month postponement for the already delayed program. Conrad said that the main reason for the delay is that after the Czech Republic joined the European Union in May last year it was obliged to adopt the type certification regime of the new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The country’s civil aviation authority has had to spend about four months being “requalified” by the EASA as the primary certification authority for the program. The manufacturer also intends to get the aircraft FAA certified.
Ibis is now not specifying when it will deliver the first Ae270s, but Conrad indicated that deliveries would probably not happen until early next year. The company had been expecting to deliver 15 of the aircraft this year.
Also in question is whether AIDC will continue to produce wings for the aircraft. “We will see what makes sense economically,” said Conrad. In addition to its Czech manufacturing facility, Ibis has sales and marketing offices in Kerrville, Texas.
Powered by a single 1,583-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66A turboprop, the Ae270 offers range of up to 1,300 nm and a 270-knot cruise speed. The aircraft, which can be configured with executive or utility interiors, has an mtow of 8,380 pounds and can carry up to nine passengers and a pilot.