Ruag Aerospace says it is on track to complete certification and first delivery of its Do228NG in March. The company holds orders and options for 10 of the New Generation version of the Dornier 228 twin turboprop from customers in Japan, Mexico, Australia, Vietnam and Argentina. The first of the upgraded aircraft was rolled out at Ruag’s facility at Oberpfaffenhofen in southern Germany on November 12 and has been in flight test since then.
Swiss-based Ruag is assembling the aircraft in Germany using sub-assemblies and airframe sections produced by Hindustan Aeronautics in India. The 228NG has improved performance thanks to its new 776-shp Honeywell TPE331-10 engines and new five-blade propellers. The cockpit will have a glass avionics suite with an improved flight management system and a four-screen electronic flight information system from Universal Avionics, as well as radios and navigation equipment from Rockwell Collins.
The 228 started life as an entry-level regional airliner, but it has also filled a variety of applications, including business utility transport and special missions such as maritime patrol. It is designed to operate from short runways and unprepared landing strips. In 2003, Ruag acquired the type certificate from the administrator handling the bankruptcy of Fairchild Dornier.
The powerplant improvements for the new-generation version are covered by STCs and will be available for retrofit on earlier models. The new avionics suite is already certified, having been incorporated into a pair of 228s now in service with the Dutch coast guard.
The propeller, which weighs 77 pounds less than the original four-blade model, is designed and manufactured by Germany’s MT Propeller. In a series of some 350 modifications, Ruag has also replaced a number of minor parts around the airframe to further reduce weight and improve reliability.
According to Ruag, requests for information from prospective operators have increased threefold this year as the aircraft has approached service entry. It is initially being offered with a 19-seat cabin.