Accommodating the requests of potential customers, Vulcanair of Italy decided in January to make a number of design changes to the fuselage of its 11-passenger VF600W Mission turboprop single. These changes, which are now being incorporated into the second prototype, include adding a pilot door on the right side (at the request of floatplane operators who want cockpit access on both sides), adding a door for passengers on the right side opposite the cargo door and increasing the size of said cargo door. As a result, the VF600W’s planned EASA certification has moved from the second quarter of this year to March of next year. Remo De Feo, president of the company’s Manassas, Va.-based U.S. distributor, expects the airplane will obtain “concurrent” FAA approval within a month or two of EASA certification, depending on how long it takes the FAA to approve the paperwork.
The number-one prototype, which first flew in December 2002, accumulated about 88 flight hours before the company grounded it in June because the airplane had accomplished all it could in its present configuration, and so engineers could begin the modifications to its fuselage. Meanwhile, Vulcanair is building two new conforming fuselages, one for prototype number two and the second for static testing on the ground. First flight of the number-two aircraft is expected in October.
The price of the 777-shp Walter M601F-11-powered Vulcanair remains at $1.2 million (d1 million). De Feo said the company has received much interest in the airplane, but does not plan to accept orders until February next year. Vulcanair derived the Mission from its SF600A Canguro, which is powered by two Rolls-Royce 250 turboprops. The VF600W is targeted at the corporate, commercial transport, law enforcement and homeland security markets.