Acquiring companies in Eastern Europe is becoming fashionable, it seems. Now GE is buying Walter Engines, the Czech company known for its low-cost PT6 alternative, the M601 turboprop.
GE follows Sikorsky, which purchased Polish aircraft manufacturer PZL-Mielec earlier this year, and Pratt & Whitney Canada, which took over Polish engine maker PZL-Rseszow in 2001.
The M601 is best known for powering another Czech product, the 19-seat Let L-410 – and Let leads us to another, almost forgotten, link between GE and Czech industry.
GE’s CT7 turboprop powered the 40-passenger L-610G, which was orginally designed to use the Walter (then Motorlet) M602.
The L-610 perished in the disastrous take-over of Let by US agricultural aircraft manufacturer Ayres (remember the Loadmaster?). But Let and the L-410 survived, and now GE is getting back on board.