Continental Motors, a subsidiary of Beijing-based Avic, partnered with STC and custom design and installation services firm ASI Innovation of Reims, France, to acquire the type certificate, inventory and manufacturing rights for the F406 twin turboprop from Reims Aviation, which was declared insolvent last year. The F406 is an unpressurized, 14-passenger airplane manufactured by Reims Aviation and originally designed in cooperation with Cessna in the early 1980s.
Final assembly of GECI Aviation’s multi-purpose twin-turboprop SK-105 Skylander is to begin in the second half of this year, with a first flight scheduled for the second half of 2012 leading to type certification expected during the first half of 2013. This is six to nine months later than the original plan outlined by the French company.
Sky Aircraft, based in Chambley in France’s Lorraine region, is part of GECI International, which also includes Reims Aviation, maker of the F406 twin turboprop. GECI is also a supplier to manufacturers Airbus on the A380 and A350 XWB programs and Dassault on the 7X program. The SK-105 Skylander is a high-wing twin turboprop powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65B engines.
France’s Reims Aviation, one of the few remaining independent aircraft manufacturers and structure subcontractors in Europe, last month launched the F406 Mark II turboprop twin, which has upgraded avionics, increased endurance and better hot-and-high performance than its predecessor, the Mark I.
French utility aircraft builder Reims Aviation went into bankruptcy protection on October 30. A company statement said the move was forced by a cash-flow crisis rather than a lack of orders.
Reims Aviation, one of Europe’s few remaining independent light aircraft manufacturers and subcontractors, has been saved from bankruptcy. The Reims, eastern France commercial court lifted the bankruptcy protection order on the company but said it should be broken up and sold in two parts, with 164 of the 461 employees losing their jobs.
Pierre Clostermann, French World War II ace, aviation executive, author and politician, died on March 22 in France. He was 85. Clostermann joined UK-based French Free Forces in 1942 and flew Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Tempests during the war. After the war, he wrote a book on his combat duty and served as a member of the French parliament from 1946 to 1969. He later served as CEO of Reims Aviation and a v-p of Cessna.
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