The Avicopter AC352 medium-twin helicopter (previously known as the Z15, the Chinese version of the jointly developed Eurocopter EC175) is now expected to make its maiden flight in the second half of this year in China, according to Europe- and Asia-based industry sources. Entry into service is then expected late next year or early 2016. Certification had previously been planned for this year.
Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6
The FAA is proposing to adopt a new airworthiness directive (AD) for certain Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engines. The proposed AD was prompted by in-service events involving the perforation of engine cases as a result of the liberation of power-turbine blades and the fracture/displacement of the power-turbine containment ring.
Air Tractor announced a new airframe and engine warranty policy to mark the company’s 40th anniversary and to commemorate 50 years of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6A engine. The new Air Tractor airframe warranty covers one year or 500 hours, plus two years or 1,000 hours on major structural components. Air Tractor has coupled this with an extended warranty on all PT6As for 2014 deliveries. This offer extends the PT6A warranty to 2,500 hours or five years.
Vector Aerospace Engine Services Atlantic named Malcolm Venturi as regional sales and service manager for southern and western Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. According to the company, Venturi has more than 22 years of technical and hands-on aviation experience coupled with a “deep knowledge of the Australian and Asia –Pacific aviation markets.” Venturi will provide support for fixed-wing operators flying with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A, JT15D, PW100 and PW150A engines.
The KA90 engine update kit is an engine alternative to improve King Air 90 performance. It allows the option of installing either a set of PWC PT6A-21, -28, or -34 engines to replace the original PT6A-20 engines. According to Greg Barnes, president of CenTex Aerospace, of Waco Regional Airport in Waco, Texas, “The KA90 engine update kit allows the flexibility to choose new, overhauled or engines with time remaining as replacements. Any of the three engine models will improve takeoff, climb and cruise performance.”
Aero Precision entered into an agreement to market Euravia’s P&WC PT6A and PT6T MRO services. “We are excited about this new partnership with Euravia, which is one of the leading P&WC PT6A and PT6T MRO service providers in the world,” said Pavel Slavin, director of sales for Aero Precision. Euravia’s approach to cost-effective repair and overhaul and its customized preventive maintenance programs “will help our customers with the reliability of their engines and decrease long-term cost of ownership.”
Brazil’s civil aviation authority, Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil (ANAC), approved Blackhawk’s XP42A performance upgrade for the Cessna 208A Caravan. ANAC’s certification follows similar approval from the FAA in June that permits the engine upgrade on the Cessna 208A in the U.S. The XP42A mod includes a new 850-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A; Hartzell four-blade propeller; composite cowling; high-efficiency inlet duct; larger oil cooler; and two new exhaust stacks. Blackhawk claims the package increases climb rate by 24 percent and cruise speed by 9 percent.
Both Tawazun and Mubadala are displaying models of the new maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) version of the Piaggio Avanti that is under development for Adasi, a Tawazun subsidiary. Piaggio Aero, in which Mubadala has a large stake, is developing the aircraft platform with a long-span wing and increased foreplane and tailplane area, among other changes. Sweden’s Saab has been employed to provide the mission system. The MPA will be operated by a crew of four, comprising a pilot, two sensor/system operators and a mission commander.
Euravia Engineering and Greenwich AeroGroup have entered into a partnership to provide MRO services for Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A and PT6T turbine engines on fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft in the U.S. Through its MRO facilities (Atlantic Aero in Greensboro N.C., Summit Aviation in Middletown, Del., and Western Aircraft in Boise, Idaho), Greenwich AeroGroup will provide engine inventory and component storage, logistics and distribution services across the U.S. and also between the U.S. and the UK.
There were two major developments in the business turboprop sector this year and neither involved new aircraft. However, they did show where potentially the next growth area is for the turboprop market: downstream. Turboprops historically have been a useful vehicle for introducing new customers into the corporate aircraft market, provided operators can maintain price discipline. If not, bad things can happen. Case in point: after several years of public struggle, Piaggio Avanti fractional provider Avantair ceased operations in June.