AAD: PICTURE - VliegMasjien unveils prototype amphibian

Johannesburg
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South African airframer VliegMasjien is developing a new amphibian bush aircraft for the general aviation market. The company is displaying a prototype at the Africa Aerospace & Defence show in Pretoria that it hopes to complete and fly next year.

"A lot of people look at it as an amphibian," says VliegMasjien marketing consultant Andre Labuschagne. "But it's firstly a bush plane and then an amphibian."

The target market is not just Africa, Labuschagne says, as the C-Wolf could be sold anywhere there is a demand for rugged bush aircraft with a relatively large cargo capacity and a range of about 1,910nm (3,540km). Canada and Australia could be potential target markets.

The company has already secured an order and is taking deposits, but deliveries could take two to three years because the aircraft is still a prototype.

The new aircraft is expected to have an endurance of over 16h, while carrying a payload of 800kg (1,760lb). The C-Wolf has an empty weight of 900kg.

Designed for operations in extremely rugged terrain, the C-Wolf uses a unique layout consisting of canards, wing and T-tail, which should allow the aircraft to rotate more quickly on short strips. Double Fowler flaps should further increase its short field performance.

VliegMasjien C- Wolf Mark Mansfield

 Mark Mansfield

A 320hp (240kW) six-cylinder ADEPT-320T engine running on motor gas powers the aircraft. That is in turn connected to a constant speed/reversible five-bladed MTV5 propeller. Turning at only 1,500rpm, the aircraft will be extremely quiet, Labuschagne says. "We'll probably be one of the quietest planes you can get."

The exhaust is blown out through the leading edge of the wings, giving the aircraft a level of built-in de-icing capability.

The C-Wolf's fuselage and wings are largely made of Kevlar for increased durability.

"That's for impact resistance should you hit a stump of wood or something," Labuschagne says. It also has extremely rugged retractable composite and steel landing gear, which are expected to be able to cope with a landing imparting a loading of over 3g.

Inside, VliegMasjien hopes to outfit the aircraft with a full glass cockpit with side-stick controls. However, the flight controls are mechanical, with the exception of the electrically-powered trim.

Due to the quiet design of the aircraft, pilots should be able to fly the type without headsets, Labuschagne says. It also has a toilet.