EBACE Convention News

Czech sport plane builder moves into utility t-props

 - November 28, 2006, 12:13 PM

Evektor-Aerotechnik (Booth No. 1305) has developed a new-generation multipurpose turboprop, the EV-55 Outback. Based in Kunovice in the Czech Republic, Evektor is a major sports aircraft producer, and has sold 400 airplanes in 30 countries. To expand its activities into the segment of small turboprops, the company has bought a new facility that was previously part of the former LET Kunovice factory (which produced the L-410 aircraft, to which the EV-55 bears some resemblance).

The basic technical specifications of the EV-55 result from an extensive marketing study conducted by Evektor in markets around the world with an emphasis on the U.S. market. The Outback has been conceived as “a safer and higher-performance” alternative to utility single- and twin-engine turboprops.

With a maximum payload of 4,021 pounds and the ability to carry 9 to 14 passengers over a distance of up to 1,188 nm, the Outback will cruise at a maximum speed of 220 knots. It offers a spacious cabin volume of 448 cu ft including baggage compartments.

Evektor chose Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6A-21 engine for its proven reliability and the short takeoff and landing (STOL) performance it allows. The company’s extensive global customer support and aftermarket services were also key factors in this selection, according to Stefan Mazareanu, P&WC’s area manager for international business development.

Thanks to the use of advanced software and composite materials, the EV-55 was designed as a very light, and yet sturdy and durable, airframe. According to the manufacturer, the EV-55 will also be able to operate under the most adverse conditions, including from short airstrips and unpaved runways, as well as in extreme “hot and high” conditions. In addition, the versatility of the Outback is being expanded with a float-seaplane version.

The $1.7 million EV-55 promises low costs of operation and maintenance, making it attractive for air-taxi operators wishing to replace aging cabin-class twin piston aircraft. “The EV-55 will be a real money maker,” stated Jaroslav Ruzicka, chairman of Evektor.

First flight of the EV-55 prototype is planned for mid-2007. Evektor anticipates type certification by the end of 2008 with first customer deliveries in 2009. The EV-55 will be certified as a FAR Part 23 aircraft.

Additional Czech partners in the EV-55 project include Aero Vodochody (preparation of ground and flight trials, development support, design and production of assembly jigs), Avia Propeller (propellers), Jihlavan Jihlava (hydraulic components), Mesit Instruments (fuel-gauge system, de-icing system, regulation of ventilation and air conditioning), and Technometra Radotín (undercarriage). Several research laboratories also took an active part in the development of this project.