Industri Pesawat Terbang Nusantara (IPTN) has been forced to delay the maiden flight of its first N250-100 certification prototype, as the result of component documentation falling below US Federal Aviation Administration requirements.
The second prototype N250, had been due to fly in May, but this has been pushed back until 12 December, says IPTN. The aircraft is the first of three production-sized 64- to 68-seat prototypes, which IPTN plans to use for local Directorate General of Air Communications (DGAC) and FAA type certification.
The FAA, however, has refused to accept the aircraft as a certification vehicle until IPTN brings its vendor record system in-line with international standards. Its stipulation includes components already fitted to PA2 and sub-assemblies for PA3 and 4 now in production. The first aircraft had its maiden flight in August 1995.
"If they want to use the second prototype as a certification vehicle, all materials must conform to the rules retrospectively," says an N250 supplier. This has meant delays to the completion of the PA2, which has been in final assembly since the start of the year.
IPTN has been instructed by the FAA, through the DGAC, that it needs to establish a system to supervise the production and supply of parts by vendors. Without up-to-date engineering drawing, service bulletins and source records, the company has been told that it cannot ensure parts meet specifications.
An FAA official says, "To get to the point of putting an aircraft into production, you have to have conformity and quality control in place...this is not show-stopping stuff, but rather growing pains."
It is likely that the seven-month delay to the start of the PA2's flight-testing will affect the programme's certification timetable.
Even before this latest hold-up, FAA officials had suggested that IPTN's late-1997 target date for FAR Part 25 certification was "over optimistic."
According to N250 programme manager Djoko Sartono, any delay in FAA certification will not affect the delivery of the first production aircraft to local operators Merpati Nusantara and Sempati Air Transport. "We're still committed to delivering in early 1998," he says.
The FAA has given Indonesia poor marks for monitoring aviation safety. A conditional rating was earned after the nation's civil aviation organisation failed an FAA-conducted safety audit. Until improvements are made, only limited operations by Indonesian air carriers to the USA are permitted under heightened FAA surveillance and inspections. Nine countries, which failed the FAA audit, are barred from operating to the USA.
Source: Flight International