The life of a component supplier is a difficult one in the aerospace and business aviation industries. Being dependent on the airframe manufacturers for business severely limits a company’s ability to expand to new markets. But at least one engine manufacturer is having a good go of it these days.
Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6
British Columbia-based Viking Air, which purchased a number of de Havilland Canada type certificates from Bombardier last year, announced last month it was going to begin production on the turboprop Twin Otter. This will be the company’s first venture into aircraft production, having provided service and support on its DHC type certificates since last year.
Rocket Engineering of Spokane, Wash.–the company involved in the Piper Malibu JetProp DLX Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A conversion–is at it again. This time Rocket has been quietly working for the past two years on a P&WC PT6A-35-powered Beechcraft Duke BE60 conversion.
Czech aircraft designer and manufacturer Evektor-Aerotechnik, best known for a line of light piston singles, will begin promotion of its new EV-55 twin turboprop at the EAA AirVenture fly-in at Oshkosh, Wis., later this month. The unpressurized aircraft, partly financed by the Czech government, is priced at $1.7 million and is expected to sell as an alternative to turboprop singles such as the Cessna Caravan.
Osceola Mills, Pa.-based Innodyn will be showing off its latest turboprop engine–the TwinPack–later this month at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. Over the past several years the company has been quietly working on fuel-efficient, low-cost 200- to 300-shp turboprop aircraft powerplants with 5,000-hour TBOs. Building on this work, Innodyn has developed the 500-shp TwinPack, which combines two of its 250-shp turbines through a common gearbox.
Deliveries of the Beech King Air C90GT, a more powerful version of the C90B intended to compete with the impending very light jets (VLJs), are scheduled to start in December. Two 750-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135 turboprop engines will replace the current 550-shp PT6A-21s, boosting top speed to 270 knots from 240 knots and cutting in half the time it takes to reach 30,000 feet.
Like the mythical phoenix, the AASI Jetcruzer 450/500 may arise from its ashes to fly again, this time as a single-turbofan, experimental airplane rather than a certified single-turboprop pusher. It was in April 2002 that Advanced Aerodynamics & Structures Inc. (AASI), after completing its acquisition of the bankrupt Mooney Aircraft Co., changed its name, as expected, to Mooney Aerospace Group (MASG).
Ibis Aerospace flew its second production Ae270 Propjet fitted with the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-66A in late February from Aero Vodochody’s flight-test facilities near Prague, Czech Republic.
The first prototype G160 Ranger, Grob-Werke’s second turboprop single, flew for the first time on March 29 from the company’s facility in Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany, about 60 miles from Munich.The seven-seat, Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A-powered G160 is an expansion of the four-seat G140TP, which first flew in December 2002 and is expected to obtain certification late this year.
The second prototype of the Bell/Agusta BA609 tiltrotor is now flying in airplane mode, after starting its flight test regimen in helicopter mode on November 9 last year. It operates from Cameri, an Italian Air Force airfield near Milan.