Daher-Socata’s new TBM 900 is making its public debut this week at the 2014 Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., less than three weeks after the upgraded turboprop single was unveiled in Tarbes, France. Based on its speed and efficiency improvements over its TBM 850 predecessor, the $3.7 million TBM 900 has attracted “significant attention among pilots, owners and operators,” Daher-Socata said.
Vulcanair delivered the first P68 Observer 2 in China yesterday, less than two weeks after the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC) granted type certificate validation for the twin turboprop. The aircraft was delivered to Vulcanair’s Chinese distributor, Tianjin-based China Aero Supply, which will in turn hand over the turboprop to its undisclosed customer. Vulcanair said this Observer 2 will be used for aerial photo missions. China Aero Supply also has “a number” of P68 Observer 2s on order, which will be delivered to China “soon.”
For the first time since 2008, worldwide deliveries of business jets were higher than the previous year, according to 2013 year-end numbers released yesterday by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Airframers handed over 678 business jets last year, six more than in 2012.
Rolls-Royce said the first T56 engine enhancement package it assembled and ground tested for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s WP-3D Orion weather reconnaissance aircraft demonstrated a 13-percent reduction in fuel consumption, beating the required 7.9 percent.
Epic Aircraft said it remains on schedule to certify its E1000 all-composite turboprop single by the middle of next year. Deliveries of the $2.75 million airplane are slated to begin in the second half of next year.
The E1000 will be a certified version of the kit-built Epic LT with a 1,200-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-67A engine and Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. Preliminary performance and specifications include a 325-knot top cruise speed, 1,600-nm range and a 34,000-foot ceiling.
Quest Aircraft received FAA approval for a 565-pound maximum landing weight increase for its Kodiak to 7,255 pounds, the same as the turboprop single’s mtow. This allows operators to carry extra fuel–“a significant benefit for those flying to remote regions,” said Quest president and CEO Sam Hill. The upgrade is standard on all new-production Kodiaks and an option for in-service aircraft without requiring any structural upgrade.
Dunlop Aircraft Tyres (Booth M93) is exhibiting new radial tires for regional aircraft including the Embraer E-Jets and ATR 42/72. “This product innovation, combined with our new tire distribution and retreading facility in China, gives aircraft operators increased choice…in this expanding market,” said Ian Edmonson, the company’s chairman. Dunlop’s Asia Pacific customers include China Eastern Airways, Lion Air, SpiceJet and Qantas link.
Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) Vector Aerospace expects to open its new engine center at Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace Park by the end of this year. The facility is being specifically built to support Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A turboprops and represents an investment of almost $40 million.
Last year, Pratt & Whitney Canada appointed Vector (Booth T102) as a designated overhaul facility. It will support operators of aircraft such as the Bombardier Q400 regional airliner in the Asia Pacific region.
PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI, Indonesian Aerospace) expects to fly its N219 twin-turboprop transport next year. The aircraft has been under development for some time to answer a need for a rugged STOL airliner able to operate in and out of remote, semi-prepared airstrips. At the same time, the N219 is intended to provide cost-efficient and reliable operations through the use of modern avionics and engines.
Regional airliner rivals ATR and Bombardier may still be no closer to announcing their long-anticipated new 90-seat twin turboprops, but Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is determined to be ready with the necessary powerplant for program launches that it views as inevitable. Next month, the engine maker will resume testing of the compressor unit for its proposed New Generation Regional Turboprop engine and it expects to have all testing complete by mid-year.