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.
Wall Street Journal aerospace editor Jeff Cole traveled to Colorado last January to interview one of the industry’s highest achievers, Michael Chowdry, founder and chairman of the world’s third largest air cargo operator, Atlas Air. Tragically, both men lost their lives when they crashed in Chowdry’s high-performance Aero Vodochody L-39 jet trainer.
The NTSB’s recently released factual report of the crash last year of a privately owned Aero Vodochody L-39 former military jet trainer that killed a Wall Street Journal reporter riding as a passenger and pilot Michael Chowdry, founder and CEO of cargo carrier Atlas Air, draws attention to the pilot’s skill, experience and attitude, as well as possible severe and sudden changes in the airplane’s handling characteristics when it lost the aft ca
News reports of the death of the Ibis Ae270B program are premature, according to Frank Hong, director of the business management division at Taiwan’s Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC). Aero Vodochody and AIDC were planning a joint venture to redesign the Ae270 with new wings and systems, but work has not progressed.
Belgian visualization specialist Barco has been chosen by Aero Vodochody to supply high-definition displays for its L-159 modification program. Aero is converting four
Czech manufacturer Aero Vodochody, founded in 1919, probably lays a fair claim to being the oldest airframer still active today. The company’s days may be numbered, however, if it doesn’t start turning a profit next year.
Ibis Aerospace flew its second production Ae270 Propjet fitted with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66A in late February from Aero Vodochody’s flight-test facilities near Prague, Czech Republic.
Certification by the Czech civil aviation authorities of the Ae270 turboprop single has slipped once again, from the second quarter of this year to late August, with FAA certification now anticipated for late September or October (from June), according to Jeff Conrad, v-p of marketing. Expected to join ship number five in the flight-test program soon is aircraft number seven.
Penta Holding, the private-equity firm that in January purchased Ae270 and L-39 manufacturer Aero Vodochody, expects to announce by the end of this month a restructuring plan that will help its aircraft manufacturing division become profitable. Aero Vodochody lost approximately 1 billion Czech crowns last year (about $48 million), and Penta plans to eliminate 450 jobs from the total 1,644 in an effort to regain profitability.
After receiving limited type certification of the Ae270 single-engine turboprop from the Czech Civil Aviation Authority in December, Czech-Slovak private-equity group Penta Holding acquired 100 percent of the shares of Ae270 manufacturer Aero Vodochody. The transaction was completed on January 4, and Aero Vodochody retained its 50-percent ownership of the shares of Ibis Aerospace, a joint venture with Taiwan’s AIDC.