Romanian manufacturer expects general aviation market to grow and wants its two-seat Paris debutant to become 'aircraft of choice' in country

Romania's Aerostar is seeking to boost civil aviation activities by expanding its aircraft line and is evaluating new designs.

The Bacau-based company, which specialises in the repair and upgrade of military aircraft, has increased its civil market share from 5% to 14% from 1999 to 2000. "We have made a decision to consolidate our position and clearly defined the development of general aviation aircraft as a new area [of expansion]," says manager Doina Matanie.

Aerostar declines to reveal details of the new aircraft design. Matanie adds: "We are examining possibilities at this stage and have not made any decisions."

Aerostar produces the two-seat Yakovlev Yak-52W under licence and is planning to offer a tail wheel variant of the piston-powered aircraft. Late last month, the Aerostar's new ultralight, the Aerostar 01, made its maiden flight. The all-metal, two-seat, side-by-side aircraft, will make its debut at this month's Paris air show. It is powered by a Jabiru 2200 piston engine driving a two-blade wooden propeller, offering a maximum cruise speed of 92kt (170km/h), a range of 759km (471m) and a ceiling of 9,850ft.

"We expect to see the ultralight market grow in Romania and would like the Aerostar 01 to become the aircraft of choice throughout the country," says Matanie.

As well as the Romanian domestic market, Aerostar is also targeting North America, Western Europe, Australia, South East Asia as well as Eastern Europe. Matanie adds: "Depending on the nature of each market, we are planning to either establish a network of international dealerships or sell and distribute the aircraft directly to the customers."

The Aerostar 01 will be delivered ready to fly or in kit form and in standard configuration, although engine, flight instrumentation and cabin options are available, says Matanie.

The planned production rate is set at around 45 units a year and Aerostar has not disclosed the size of the orderbook.

Source: Flight International