First deliveries of the Intracom General Machinery GM-17 Viper 8 executive aircraft have been made in Russia, where the much-reworked Piper Pressurized Navajo may be operated under an experimental certificate. The company’s managing director, Dr. Nick Schmidt, told AIN that the first batch of 32 Vipers, P Navajo piston twins converted to turboprop singles powered by a 751-shp Walter 601E, will be produced and sold in Russia with this type of certification.
The proof-of-concept model first flew some 18 months ago and has since been joined by six prototype Vipers, each powered by a Walter engine. Two GM-17s have been delivered to customers and a third is set to enter service within a month. Schmidt said there would be design changes made to the new-build Vipers planned for production starting in 2005 and for which FAA certification will be sought.
To increase the appeal of the Viper on international markets, Schmidt is considering the installation of a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop, although this would be more expensive than the Czech-built Walter engine. By fitting the 950-shp PT6A-62 engine, a 2,646-pound payload could be offered, while the lighter, less powerful and cheaper PT6A-21 would provide 1,323 pounds. A prototype fitted with the latter engine is to begin flight testing next month.