In the Works: Evektor – EV-55 Outback

 - April 30, 2010, 10:51 AM

On March 30, Evektor rolled out its EV-55 Outback, a nine-
to 14-seat, high-wing twin turboprop, at the company’s factory in Kunovice, Czech Republic. First flight of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21-powered utility airplane is planned for the third quarter, two years behind the company’s original schedule. The EV-55 was designed using “advanced software” and constructed with composite materials, giving it what Evektor describes as a light yet sturdy and durable airframe. The main landing gear retracts into the fuselage, as on the Mitsubishi MU-2. De-icing is provided by boots on the wings and empennage.

Evektor and the Association of Aviation Manufacturers of the Czech Republic launched the project after conducting a marketing study in 2004 to determine market niches in general aviation aircraft that weren’t filled. A consortium of Czech companies managed by Evektor was established to develop the EV-55, which is expected to replace “already obsolete twin-engine production airplanes with capacity for six to nine passengers,” according to Evektor, “and successfully compete with single-engine turboprop airplanes which are currently
in production.”

On the day of the rollout, chief EV-55 designer Petr Sterba said, “Today, after five years of the effort of Evektor’s design team and the other partners in the consortium, we have officially introduced the first prototype of the EV-55 Outback. It is a completion of the first and an important part of development not only for me personally, but also for the whole team. We realize that there is still much work ahead of us.”

The EV-55 will be offered in three configurations, with nine to 14 passenger seats or full cargo and combi, as well as a seaplane version. The airplane has a 10,140- pound mtow, 4,021-pound maximum payload, 1,188-nm range and a top cruise speed of 220 knots. Cabin volume, including baggage space, is reported to be 448 cu ft. The EV-55 is priced at $1.7 million (2006 $). Additional Czech partners in the EV-55 project include Aero Vodochody, Avia Propeller, Jihlavan Jihlava, Mesit Instruments and Technometra Radotín.