A consortium of 17 Czech manufacturers, led by Evektor-Aero-technik, is developing a twin turboprop dubbed the EV-55, targeted at the business and commercial aviation markets. The first prototype is scheduled for first flight in the first half of 2007, leading to certification and first deliveries in 2009. Evektor plans to build up to 72 units a year.

"The aircraft will have a range of over 2,590km [1,400nm] and a cruise speed of at least 400km/h [210kt]," says Evektor's deputy manager Petr Sterba. "The initial version under development will be certificated for nine passengers, but plans include a 14-passenger version," he adds. The twin-engine EV-55, Sterba says, will be able to operate with a full payload into small airports at high altitudes, "as well as on unpaved surfaces and in hot climates".

The Czech government has committed Ckr302 million ($11 million) to the consortium, covering aircraft development to 2006.



Source: Flight International