Grob Aircraft (H4/D5) co-chief executive and chief sales officer André Hiebeler evoked the spirit of The Beatles while launching a new marketing drive for the company's G120TP trainer at the Farnborough air show.
Describing his company and programme partners Esterline CMC Electronics, Martin-Baker and Rolls-Royce as "the fab four", Hiebeler says the turboprop-powered design is the perfect "ticket to ride" for the next generation of military pilots.
The G120TP programme is moving fast, with the first production example for Indonesia having recently been rolled out at Grob Aircraft's Tussenhausen-Mattsies site near Munich, Germany under an 18-aircraft deal. Rolls-Royce says it has delivered its first two production M250-B17F turboprop engines under the programme, with 12 more to follow by the end of this year.
"We've done ground vibration testing, and expect first flight next week," says Hiebeler. "The first six aircraft are to be delivered in November and December - ahead of schedule." The remainder will be handed over by the third quarter of 2013, he adds.
Grob Aircraft had intended to announce two new deals for the G120TP before or during the show, but last-minute issues have delayed both from being concluded. "It's a learning curve," Hiebeler says of doing business in one of the expected customer nations, citing unanticipated "tax and customs issues". However, he believes "we can work it out", with both deals likely to be concluded within the next one or two months.
In all, the German manufacturer has commenced promotional campaigns with the two-seat G120TP in 23 countries, with Hiebeler anticipating further contracts to be signed within the next year to 15 months. Potential customers are being offered a standard aircraft design with a range of equipment options, including Martin-Baker's new lightweight Mk17 ejection seat - unveiled at the show - and the Esterline CMC Electronics Cockpit 4000 suite of avionics.
Noting that the G120TP's versatility will enable air forces to cover a broad range of training requirements with the type, Hiebeler concludes: "Wherever you're going, start with us."