High Performance Aircraft has secured funding to move to prototype production of its TT62 twin piston-engined five-seat aircraft. The company is establishing a facility at the former Soviet air force base in Rostock, north-eastern Germany, with the help of a €13.5 million ($12.2 million) grant from the German government.

Heiko Teegen, High Performance's chairman, says the final €3.4 million from a total of €27 million investment needed was secured last month.

The all-composite design has two strut-mounted propellers driven by Kevlar belts attached to 230kW (310shp) Thielert TAE-310 V8 diesel engines mounted in the fuselage behind the aft bulkhead. Teegen says noise was a prime consideration for customers of new aircraft in this category.

Teegen carried out a poll to determine requirements for any new design. "Everyone said there was a need for new designs to replace Cessna 340s, but that noise must be reduced and fuel consumption is an increasing concern," says Teegen. A maximum price of €450,000 was also specified, which Teegen says he is working towards. Those polled also demanded diesel engines as avgas is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain and is more expensive than jet fuel.

The twin TAE-310s will consume 79litres/h (21USgal/h) of fuel at a normal cruising speed of 240kt (445km/h) at 20,000ft (6,100m), with a 2,500kg (5,510lb) take-off weight. The TT62 has 12.5m (41ft 3in) wingspan and is 10.8m long with a 1.5m diameter fuselage. The aircraft's range is 3,225km (1,750nm).

High Performance has eight options for the aircraft, valued at €22,500 each. The state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern has provided funding under a federal scheme to encourage high-technology companies to establish facilities in former East German states.

First flight of the aircraft could be as early as 2004, with certification following in 2005, says Teegen.

High Performance estimates a market for 535 aircraft in the first five years, mainly in Germany.

Source: Flight International