Ibis Aerospace came to last month’s NBAA Convention with a restyled full-scale cabin mockup of its Ae270 turboprop single. The new interior provides fully adjustable leather seating in a club arrangement and includes two foldout tables, an ultrasuede headliner, a fabric-covered side ledge, adjustable lighting and environmental controls.
EADS Socata at EBACE outlined what its product launch might be next year–a twin-engine business aircraft that is bigger than its TBM 850 turboprop single. “The future product will have two more seats than the [six-seat] TBM,” said Socata CEO Jean-Michel Léonard. Socata expects to make a launch decision early next year. “Before that, four criteria have to be met,” he said.
Clintonville, Wis.-based Performance Conversions has received an STC for installing 751-shp Czech-built Walter M601E-11 turboprop engines and five-blade Avia propellers on the King Air C90-1, C90A, C90B, C90SE and E90. The conversion, approved last April on the basic C90, also decreases cabin noise, takeoff distance, routine maintenance costs and downtime for engine maintenance, according to the company.
Sales of pre-owned turboprop aircraft are a little like the old line, “I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?”
Last year at this time, dealers predicted that the market was facing a rocky ride, with economic storm clouds already on the horizon and the presidential election still not decided. No one had any inkling of just how rocky it was going to become.
Russian charter operator Dexter Air Taxi has signed a fleet management program with Pratt & Whitney Canada covering eight PT6A-67P engines on its fleet of Pilatus PC-12 aircraft.
While people dealing in pre-owned turboprops are not exactly doing cartwheels over the state of their industry these days, most are optimistic that the downward spiral seems to be flattening out. They cite an apparent leveling of prices, which is bringing buyers back into the marketplace, and more favorable insurance rates.
Fractional operator Avantair, launched at the NBAA Convention in September as Skyline Aviation Services, has two sold-out Piaggio Avantis in service. The company, based at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., expects to put two more Avantis into service this month, with a fifth to arrive next month.
Turboprop manufacturer Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) believes that European regional airlines’ ardor for the 50-seat regional jet may be cooling and wants to take advantage of the situation. “Some European operators are thinking again about turboprops,” the French-Italian airframer’s general secretary, Jean-Pierre Cousserans, told AIN.
Turbine-engine technology development is going in two directions. One is the development of new technology to push the envelope of performance, operational safety, maintainability and reliability. The other is to refine and update existing engines for long-term use, especially in light of more stringent Stage 4 requirements and existing Stage 3 rules.
LoneStar Propjets of Waco, Texas, has received an STC to replace the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprops on the King Air 90 through C90 series with Prague-designed Walter M601E turboprops and Avia Hamilton five-blade propellers. The converted airplane, known as the “Power 90,” has a “substantial increase in both climb and cruise performance,” according to LoneStar.