Ravi Tripuraneni is here at NBAA’06 promoting his design for the RT-700, a new piston-powered twin-engine airplane with a three-lifting-surface design similar to that employed by Piaggio’s Avanti turboprop. “Obviously we are looking for funding,” said Tripuraneni, president of Aviation Technologies International, based in Orange, Calif.
Tripuraneni has been working on the design of the RT-700 for two years and initially planned to power the twin with Teledyne Continental Motors liquid-cooled gasoline engines. Strong interest outside the U.S., however, led to consideration of 350-hp Thielert Centurion diesel engines. Tripuraneni said he has also been discussing possible diesel designs with Continental and Lycoming, although a gas-powered version may still be required for the U.S., depending on marketplace reaction.
The reasons for the similarity between the RT-700 and the Avanti, Tripuraneni said, are because that is the natural appearance of an airplane with three lifting surfaces. “We had three choices in aerodynamic design,” he said. These were an ordinary wing-first design, a canard or three lifting surfaces like the Avanti. “As an engineer,” he said, “I feel the three-surface design was well suited for multiple roles.”
Tripuraneni has considered uses like air ambulance and cargo in addition to ordinary business travel. The entry door is 36 inches wide and split, so stretchers and cargo can easily be loaded. The fuselage floor is flat from front to rear, thanks to the three-surface design.
Projected performance specifications include 273-knot maximum speed, 243-knot economy cruise, 1,308-nm range, 5,699-pound maximum takeoff weight, 2,145-pound useful load and 160-gallon fuel capacity. Tripuraneni said the RT-700 will weigh hundreds of pounds less than comparably-sized piston twins because of “proprietary” design and assembly techniques, a wing that is 20 percent smaller than similar airplanes and the lower fuel load needed because the airplane is lighter. The prototype could fly in 15 months, he added, followed by certification and deliveries in 2009.