The Canadian Aerospace Group (CAG) has concluded a second collaborative agreement with a Chinese aviation manufacturer covering the final assembly and sale of up to 240 Hongdu N-5A agricultural aircraft to North American buyers. China in return, has been given rights for local production of the Windeagle light aircraft and Monitor Jet trainer.
Hongdu, formerly Nanchang Aircraft, is due to ship the first of an initial two N-5 airframes to Canada in May. CAG will then install a Lycoming IO-720 eight-cylinder engine, non-retractable tricycle gear and cockpit instruments. Company president Philip Nelson claims to have customers already lined up and expects to deliver the first N-5 by August.
In a reciprocal move, China has signed a tentative agreement to produce either CAG's Windeagle all-composite light aircraft or Monitor tandem-seat jet trainer, formerly known as the Peregrine Falcon. They are aimed at China's military trainer and slowly emerging civil general aviation markets.
"If China's military were to say they would like a version of Windeagle or Monitor, we have an agreement signed on the basis we will go together with Hongdu, but we still have some marketing issues to clear up," says Nelson. The Chinese firm would initially build components to prove its production quality.
This latest agreement follows a similar deal struck with Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing, to supply Y-12 airframes to CAG for completion and sale. Hongdu has to date only produced 15 N-5s for the Chinese market, but hopes to sell as many as 40-50 single-engined crop dusters a year to US and Canadian operators.
"We will make aircraft available for lease as well as sale," adds Nelson. The company is planning to develop uprated versions of the N-5, fitted either with the more powerful liquid-cooled Orenda Canada 600 or the Pratt & Whitney PT6-11 turboprop. Other options would include a global positioning system. Prices will range from $250,000 for the basic version up to $700,000 for the turboprop-powered version.
The single-seat N-5 has been designed to US Federal Aviation Administration standards, but has only been certificated in China. It will initially be able to operate in North America under a restricted category. "Our intent is to see the programme through to a full US FAA certification," says Nelson.
Source: Flight International