The first conforming prototype of the Ibis Aerospace Ae270 turboprop single (S/N 5) took to the air for the first time on February 25 for nearly one hour. The flight routine included gear cycling, steep banks and climb and short-field landing characteristics. The main difference between this third flying Ae270 and the other two flying Ae270s is its Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66A engine. Rated at 1,583 eshp (thermodynamic), the engine is derated to 850 shp (takeoff) in this installation. The PT6A-42A engine in S/N 1 and S/N 3 is rated at 1,029 eshp.
Other improvements to S/N 5 include a pilot-side Chelton Systems EFIS, which recently received FAA certification. Attending the flight demonstration in Prague were executives from Ibis partners Aero Vodochody of the Czech Republic and AIDC of Taiwan, as well as representatives from Ibis shareholder Boeing, local vendors and supplier companies. Czech certification of the Ae270 is planned for September, with FAA certification by year-end. Initial deliveries are set to begin early next year. The Ae270 is being certified for FAR Part 23 single-pilot operation and will be eligible for FAR Part 135 operation. Ibis reports holding firm orders for 67 airplanes and options for six more.