Dubai Air Show

Iran masters production of light piston airplanes

 - December 6, 2006, 12:13 PM

Several Iranian manufacturers have joined a pursuit of a growing local market for affordable light airplanes for initial training and leisure flying. A proliferation of flight schools that cater to an expanding base of rich and middle-class Iranians has driven the recent surge in demand. The export market presents another opportunity, and a few Iranian-built aircraft have reportedly gone to customers in Australia.

The most technologically advanced of the Iranian models is the FAJR-3 all-composite, four-seat lightweight trainer developed by Iran’s FAJR Aviation and Composites Industry. Certified by the Iranian civil aviation authority and sold by the Raht Aseman company, the 3,483-pound-mtow aircraft gets its power from a 300-hp Textron Lycoming AEIO-540 piston engine. However, under plans to shift to an indigenous powerplant, Iranian-made SR 305/300 engines will power future production models.

Several smaller Iranian firms have begun low-rate production of foreign designs or their “reverse engineered” copies. In most instances, they involve inexpensive “no-frills” braced-wing single-piston designs in weight categories up to 2,200 pounds.

Paravar, for example, makes the Pelican Sport 450/600 with a 1,322-pound takeoff weight and a single 92-hp Rotax engine. Aseman has undertaken production of the A-22 under license from Ukraine’s Aeroprakt company. The company makes the airplane at its new factory in Mashhad, where it can build up to 100 A-22-class aircraft each year. The company also plans to assemble the Eurofox and Jabaru under license from their European developers.