Ibis Aerospace, a joint venture company formed by Aero Vodochody of the Czech Republic and Aerospace Industrial Development Corp. of Taiwan, flew the prototype of its Ae270 single-engine turboprop in front of a public audience for the first time at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget, France, in June. A second prototype is expected to fly by the end of this month.
The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A-powered Ae270P is a large-cabin pressurized aircraft seating up to eight passengers or carrying up to 2,800 lb of cargo with a range of 1,300 nm. Ibis recently announced a backlog of 51 orders for the $1.195 million turboprop to begin delivery late next year following Czech Civil Aviation Authority certification scheduled for later this year. FAA certification is scheduled for next summer. The $2.195 million Ae270HP, which is powered by a derated P&WC PT6A-66A, will be certified late next year, with deliveries to start in early 2003.
Static structural testing was recently completed on prototype number two built at the Aero Vodochody factory near Prague, Czech Republic. Withstanding loads of up to 150 percent of design criteria, the Ae270 airframe completed the test with no sign of structural defects. The tests included symmetrical and asymmetrical loading of the horizontal stabilizer and several wing tests encompassing gust loads on a combination of aileron, flap and landing gear positions.
“Having a presence at the Paris Air Show strengthens recognition for Ibis Aerospace and the Ae270 among Europeans and a wide international audience,” said Jeff Conrad, Ibis director of marketing. “We have received enthusiastic responses on the Ae270 from interested customers located around the world.”
To meet this global customer demand, Ibis has built a worldwide distributor network in the U.S., Canada, Australia and South Africa to supplement its current sales offices in the Czech Republic, Taiwan and Kerrville, Texas.
“Over the past year Ibis has been in contact with a number of top names in aviation to form our worldwide dealer network,” said Conrad, who works out of the Kerrville office. Distributors include Field Aviation Sales Ltd. of Ontario, Canada; Piedmont-Hawthorne of Winston-Salem, N.C.; Stevens Aviation of Greenville, S.C.; and CDC Aviation Ltd. of Johannesburg, South Africa.
CDC was appointed a distributor after placing an initial order of 12 Ae270s. “The multimission capabilities of the Ae270 make it perfectly suited to the African continent,” said Piet van Blerk, managing director of CDC Aviation. “It’s a cost-effective, large-cabin aircraft that will serve our customers well.”