Beriev has launched its US certification programme for the Be-103 six-seat twin-engined amphibian after signing a two-year agreement with Aerocorp International as its major distributor in North America.

The Be-103, equipped with a low-set water-displacing wing and two 155kW (210hp) Teledyne Continental IO-360-ES4 engines driving MT-Propeller MTV-12 propellers, achieved Russian AP-23 certification in December 2001.

The manufacturer is now seeking certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration to FAR Part 23 airworthiness rules. US certification would be in the form of FAA acknowledgement of the Russian type certificate. FAA personnel will visit Beriev next month to conduct an audit of the Be-103 programme. One of the three flying prototypes has been prepared for inspection and is equipped with Bendix/King avionics, weather radar and autopilot.

Beriev general director/general designer Gennady Panatov hopes to acquire US certification in the first quarter of next year. Beriev is also implementing a capability-extension programme which includes more powerful IO-550 turbocharged engines, operations from soft coastal areas and unpaved airfields and instrument flight rules certification.

After signing up Aerocorp International as its US dealer, the manufacturer is now "negotiating with a number of US vendors, suppliers, maintenance specialists and equipment manufacturers to establish a broad customer support base in the USA", says Leonid Vorobiev, director of civil programmes at Sukhoi's Komsomolsk-upon-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO), which manufactures the Be-103. Proposals under consideration are the assembly of aircraft from kits in the USA, shipping green airframes to the USA in Antonov An-124-100 freighters, or ferrying aircraft via Alaska.

US company Liberty Group International has been awarded exclusive marketing rights for the Beriev Be-200 multi-purpose amphibian aircraft in the USA and the Caribbean. The aircraft is being targeted particularly at the US market in a fire-fighting role.

Source: Flight International