A new version of the Let L-410 turboprop rolled out of its factory on Wednesday in the Czech city of Kunovice, marking the latest chapter in the storied history of the country’s most successful commercial aircraft program. Built using modern production techniques by the Czech Republic’s Aircraft Industries Company and featuring new Garmin G3000 avionics, the 19-seat L410NG prototype inherits what the company calls the best of the currently serial-produced L-410UVP-E20. Aircraft Industries said it expects the airplane to fly for the first time “shortly” and win certification in time to begin deliveries in 2017.
The L-410NG’s new wing structure, which features an “integral” fuel tank and increased fuel capacity, allows for significantly more range (1,350 nm) and endurance (10 hours), according to the manufacturer. Designers also increased maximum payload to 4,749 pounds and expanded the front luggage compartment to allow for 105.24 cu ft of volume, resulting in 880 pounds more cargo carrying capacity.
Other improvements include more powerful GE H85 engines, rated for maximum takeoff power of 850 hp, and new Avia AV-725 propellers. A new engine gearbox results in “significant” external and internal noise reduction due to a lower maximum propeller speed (reduced from 2,080 rpm to 1,950 rpm). An increase in engine power raises maximum cruise speed to 225 knots. Finally, the design calls for an increase in service life to 30,000 flight hours and/or cycles.
Since 1969, Let and its successor companies have produced 1,200 L-410s. Aircraft Industries reported sales of 16 airplanes last year and expects to sell another 19 this year. Recently the company entered new markets with sales to operators in Nepal and Bangladesh. The company also recently won U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification for the current L-410UVP-E20.