KATE SARSFIELD / LONDON
Manufacturer will follow versatile single-engined model with business version
Grob is planning to launch a family of light aircraft based on the G140TP single-engined turboprop which it is preparing for first flight next month. The next family member will be a business aircraft version, which Munich, Germany-based Grob will begin marketing after the TP's maiden flight. Another type under consideration is a G120, powered by the same Rolls-Royce 250B17F-powered turboprop.
Hans Doll, Grob sales director, says that while the G140TP has broad appeal, covering private fliers as well as civilian and military training markets, the business aircraft type, dubbed the G145, will be a dedicated civil variant. "The G145 will undergo a number of modifications, including a pressurised cabin, strengthened doors and circular fuselage," says Doll. "The wing volume will be optimised to maximise fuel storage."
Grob is already talking to potential customers for the business variant and is confident the market is large enough to accommodate the type. As rules governing commercial single-engined instrument flight rules operations become more relaxed internationally, Grob expects markets for the G145 to widen. "We are targeting customers in Australia and North America. The latter should be our major market and we are in place to support the fleet with our US [machine tool and aircraft repair and maintenance] facility in Bluffton, Ohio."
Design of the G140TP, which will undergo high-speed taxi trials this month, was frozen earlier this year while Grob concentrated on service entry of the G120 trainer. European JAR-23 certification of the c1.3 million ($1.3 million) G140TP is expected in "around 12 months" with FAR 23 approval about eight weeks later, says Doll.
Source: Flight International