Czech design and engineering company Evektor is planning to develop an amphibious variant of the EV-55 Outback once the standard version of the twin-engined turboprop has entered service.
“There is a big market for an amphibious aircraft in the 9-14-seat cabin class – there is nothing else like it around,” says Evektor deputy director Petr Sterba. “We have already drawn up basic designs and are now looking at a companies who will supply the floats,” he adds.
Sterba says Evektor is not in a hurry to bring this design to market. “We are concentrating on the classic-configured EV-55 first but would like to launch the amphibian a year after its certification, which is planned by the end of 2016,” he says.
Evektor is confident that its high-wing EV-55 will cross the finishing line within this timeframe now it has financial backing of Malaysian company Aspirasi Pertiwi. The Kuala Lumpur-based firm is investing $200 million in the Evektor group over the next decade in exchange for an undisclosed share of the company.
Around $50 million of the funding has been set aside to complete EV-55 certification. “So far, we have spent around $100 million on the programme [launched in 2005], which has been funded using company profits alongside a Czech government grant,” says Sterba.
Future investment priorities include building a production facility capable of making up to 50 of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21-powered aircraft per year and establishing a sales and service centre network, he adds.
The first EV-55 prototype (MSN001) made its maiden sortie in 2011 and has logged 172h to date. The production-conforming aircraft is now being assembled in preparation for its first flight early next year.