Paul Phelan/CAIRNS

An order from US dealer HGL Aero for 24 Eagle 150 sports trainers has prompted Eagle Aircraft to establish a second assembly line at its Perth, Australia, facility, and a parallel line at the factory of parent company Composite Technology Research Malaysia (CTRM) in Melaka, Malaysia.


The expansion is necessary to meet the A$5 million ($2.62 million) order from Kansas-based HGL Aero, which is expected to place a similar sized order in mid-2001. State-owned CTRM is currently manufacturing all the main Eagle airframe components at its Melaka plant, but will move up to a final assembly capability as production increases.

The Perth facility has, however, retained its composite manufacturing capability. CTRM is working with Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority on the certification of the Malaysian assembly plant.

CTRM, also an investor in the four-seat Lancair Columbia 300, is for the moment keeping under wraps a four-seat version of the Eagle, while it assesses the market for the all-composite Columbia. The larger Eagle, still on the drawing board, would retain the unconventional three-wing configuration in a stretched and scaled-up version with a larger, probably six cylinder, engine in place of the Eagle 150's Teledyne Continental IO-240.

Eagle has delivered 33 aircraft, with a further five aircraft on the production line, and orders totalling 60 units. The company is close to obtaining night visual flight rules certification, which will be retrofittable to existing aircraft, and expects to receive approval soon for an increased maximum take-off weight which will lift disposable load by 30kg (66lb). Eagle says the structure will not need to be modified, and expects that existing aircraft will also be approved for the improved payload.

Meanwhile, Australia's Gippsland Aeronautics' eight-seat GA-8 utility aircraft has received US Federal Aviation Administration certification. This clears the way for the GA-8 to follow the Eagle into the USA and other major markets. The aircraft had begun flying on a provisional type certificate limiting it to carry freight.

Source: Flight International