In The Works: Mallard Aircraft Turbine Mallard

 - April 8, 2014, 12:30 AM

A new-build version of the Grumman Mallard amphibian is on the drawing boards, with the formation of Mallard Aircraft by type certificate holder Frakes Aviation. Based in Cleburne, Texas, Mallard Aircraft is headed by Sam Jantzen, Jr., managing director, who previously held pilot and executive positions with Cessna, Fairchild Aircraft, Commuter Air Technology, Raisbeck Engineering and Blackhawk Modifications.

“We are thrilled to have Sam come aboard to lead this new venture and get the redesigned Mallard to market,” said Joe Frakes, owner of the company that he founded with his father, Fred Frakes. “For years, customers have asked us to bring the Mallard back into production, and I can’t think of a better person than Sam to help us make this a reality.”

The elder Frakes converted eight piston-powered Grumman Mallards to turbine power, using Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 engines, between 1970 and 1984. “He later purchased the type certificate for the Mallard and incorporated the turbine STC into the type certification,” according to the company.

In addition to new PT6 engines, the new Turbine Mallard will also feature Rockwell Collins avionics, a plush interior with six passenger seats and a three-seat divan or a utility interior with eight passenger seats and, of course, the ability to operate from water or land. The airplane can carry up to 17 passengers with high-density seating.

With a maximum takeoff weight (land or water) of 14,000 pounds, the amphibious twin will be able to carry up to 4,462 pounds of fuel (maximum) or 3,350 pounds (normal capacity). With a useful load of 5,470 pounds, payload, respectively, is 1,238 and 2,350 pounds. Typical cruise speed is 190 ktas and maximum altitude for the unpressurized turboprop is 24,500 feet.

About five years ago, North Carolina-based Antilles Seaplanes attempted to launch a turbine-powered new-build version of the Mallard’s smaller sibling, the Goose, but this effort did not pan out.