While the first Ibis Aerospace Ae270 has logged about 75 flight hours, the second flying prototype (aircraft number three) is now not expected to make its first flight for another few weeks, according to Jeff Conrad, Ibis marketing director.
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The dearth of orders (only five) for the lower-powered Ae270P turboprop single compared with the higher-powered Ae270HP and the difficulties inherent in running two programs at once have led Ibis Aerospace, the joint venture of Czech Aero Vodochody and AIDC of Taiwan, to focus its efforts on the Ae270HP instead. Subsequently, the Ae270P orders were all converted to -HP orders, giving that model a total order book of 69.
First flight of the third flying single-turboprop Ibis Ae270 conforming prototype (S/N 5), previously expected last fall, is now expected to take place this month. It is the first prototype powered by the more powerful Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66A turboprop slated for the Ae270HP. Rated at 1,583 eshp (thermodynamic), the engine is derated to 850 shp (takeoff).
While Ibis Aerospace officials have been cheering publicly for months that the Ae270 Spirit turboprop single is nearing FAA and EASA approval, their mood behind closed doors was likely more muted. This is because the Ae270, until recently expected to be certified late this or early next year, is not meeting performance guarantees and won’t enter production in its current form, a U.S. spokesman told AIN last month.
Ibis Aerospace’s Ae270 turboprop single completed EASA certification, and FAA certification is expected shortly. However, the current version of the Ae270 has not met performance targets and the Czech manufacturer intends to develop an improved Ae270 to go into production. Ibis said it will receive additional financing this year to fund development through to the point that series production can begin.