Sokol JSC, a Russia-based maintenance provider, has signed an agreement with GE Aviation to become an authorized service center for the M601 and H80. Under the agreement Sokol JSC will provide all aspects of line maintenance as well as on-wing heavy repair, troubleshooting, TBO extension inspections and a stock of spare parts.
After a year-long flight-test program powering the Thrush 510G agricultural airplane, GE Aviation received type certification from the EASA last week for its M601H-80 turboprop, a more powerful and fuel-efficient upgrade of the M601 engine the company inherited in 2008 when it purchased Czech Republic-based Walter Engines. This marks the first occasion of a GE engine receiving its initial certification from the European agency.
The future of this Williams-Rolls FJ44-1A-powered evolution of the former Promavia Jet Squalus is murkier following the closure of Alberta Aerospace, the Canadian company that was attempting to certify the single-engine, two-seat SigmaJet and four-set MagnaJet.
The Moscow Aerospace Salon, MAKS 2003, held in mid-August at the Gromov Flight Test Institute in Zhukovsky, attracted a dozen business jets and saw for the first time ever in Russia participation by U.S. Air Force aircraft (a B-52, F-15C/Es, F-16s, C-130 and KC-135) and daily flying by Italian and French display teams.
The GM-17 Viper project is in serious jeopardy following several recent developments. The GM-17 is a modified Piper P Navajo on which the two wing-mounted 425-hp piston engines are replaced by a single 750-shp Walter M601E turboprop placed in the redesigned forward fuselage.