German military specialist says commercial sector represents flourishing opportunity

Grob Aerospace is expanding into the business aircraft market with the unveiling of its four-seat G140TP single-engine turboprop.

The $890,000 Rolls-Royce Allison 250-B17F-powered aircraft, also designed as a high performance aerobatic, trainer and utility aircraft, will offer a lower-cost alternative to other single-engine turboprops, says Grob.

Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany- based Grob rolled out the G140 on 13 June following fast-track development of the all-composite aircraft. From first design to prototype was achieved in four months.

Grob admits that although the bulk of its business is military-related, the flourishing corporate and general aviation market seemed a logical and potentially lucrative move for the company. It could adapt technology from its current aircraft lines, the G115 and G120 trainers.

The all-plastic G140 will be available in pressurised and unpressurised versions, each offering a maximum cruise speed of 395km/h (215kt) and a maximum range at 1,000ft (300m) of 2,130km (1,150nm). The aircraft is set for European Joint Aviation Requirement JAR 23 certification in September 2002, and US approval will follow "shortly after".

Grob is planning to strengthen its sales, marketing and customer support in an attempt to stimulate sales of the G140 and gain recognition as a civil aircraft manufacturer. "This is a new market for us and a new type of customer with different needs and demands," Grob concedes.

Meanwhile, Grob's launch customer for the G120 trainer, Lufthansa Flight Training (LFT) which has converted three of its four options to bring firm orders to six. The aircraft will be deployed at LFT's Airline Training Center Arizona subsidiary in Goodyear, Phoenix, for initial flight training of German armed forces pilots.

Source: Flight International