Eurocopter EC 135P1, Washington, D.C., May 30, 2006–The NTSB determined the probable cause of the EMS helicopter crash to be the operator’s inadequate training program and the pilot’s failure to maintain control following his inadvertent disabling of the full authority digital engine control (Fadec) system.
St. Petersburg, Russia-based engine manufacturer Klimov is offering the VK800, a new turboshaft in the 600- to 1,000-shp range, as a low-cost alternative to Western helicopter engines. The company claims the engine is the first clean-sheet design since the Soviet era. Certification is pegged for 2009.
Threshold Aviation Group is evidence of evolution in action. Company CEO Mark DiLullo got hooked on aviation while in Air Force pilot training for the Air National Guard. When he returned to civilian life, he went to work for Martin Aviation in Ontario, Calif., and began building civilian flight time.
On September 10, Walled Lake, Mich.-based Williams International received FAA type certification of its new 1,568-pound-thrust FJ33-4A. The company will follow this milestone with the introduction of yet another turbofan engine.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) continues to consider a possible new turboprop design that could provide a sufficient advance on the PT6, which through its myriad variants offers 700 to 2,000 shp. However, for the moment at least, the manufacturer sees no immediate prospect of moving on from the ubiquitous powerplant to a new-generation engine in the same power range.
French-based startup company Price Induction, here on Stand A7 in Hall 3, on the eve of the show announced that its small engine, the DGEN 380, has completed its first test phase and reached the target maximum thrust. The 560-pound-thrust turbofan has run some 50 hours on its indoor test bed in Tarnos, in the southwest of the country. Its designers have started it 1,200 times in seven months.
The sturdy Liberty XL2 two-seat light aircraft has the appearance of sports or trainer design not unlike many others. However, an alternative lower fuselage panel also displayed at Stand C706 provides a clue to a different role that the aircraft can perform.
Clifford Development, a Toledo, Ohio start-up, has launched a program to re-engine Citation IIs with 3,000-pound-thrust Williams International FJ44-3 engines with fadec. The company has acquired a Citation II as a test aircraft and expects to obtain an STC within 12 months.
Cessna is halfway through the 150-hour function and reliability (F&R) flight-testing on the Citation Mustang very light jet, the last step before gaining Part 23 type certification, expected in the fourth quarter and possibly beating the Eclipse 500 VLJ to full, unrestricted certification. The TC will include approval for single-pilot operation, operations in RVSM airspace and an airframe designed for an unlimited lifetime.
At AOPA Expo yesterday Piper announced it had selected a variant of the Williams International FJ44-3A turbofan to power its new PiperJet. The Fadec-equipped FJ44-3AP will have a maximum thrust rating of 3,000 pounds but will be derated to 2,400 pounds for use in the new single-engine very light jet. Piper plans to fly the PiperJet in spring 2008 and start deliveries in 2010.