Air Tractor of Olney, Texas, better known for its line of Air Tractor agplanes, is working on an amphibious 10-passenger turboprop called the S-22 Surveyor. Little is being revealed about the airplane, however, other than the above information, its powerplant–a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A–and the fact that the Department of Interior’s Office of Aircraft Services has ordered one (and potentially 10 to 15 more), with the delivery projected for summer 2004. Kristin Snow, Air Tractor communications director, told AIN that her father, company president Leland Snow, does not like to talk about the progress of projects outside the company. “I was surprised when he released the information about the S-22 OAS contract last year,” she said. Work on the S-22 design began in 2000 and, according to the company, it is being “designed specifically for exceptional visibility with a high cruising speed.” Said the elder Snow, “Designing and building a new aircraft is a painstaking process. Everyone at Air Tractor has put a tremendous amount of work into this project.”
Meanwhile, the younger Snow said Air Tractor would likely pick up a State Department contract for drug-crop-eradicating agplanes that the bankrupt Ayres was unable to fulfill. Recently, Forest Protection Ltd. of New Brunswick, Canada, ordered five more AT-802F single-turboprop air tankers to join the one it bought after leasing it during last year’s fire season.