INDONESIA'S IPTN HAS received permission to begin development of a purely commercial short take-off and landing (STOL) aircraft, with a capacity of more than 20 seats, to replace machines in the de Havilland Twin Otter class. The project will target a new type, rather than a redevelopment of an existing STOL aircraft, and could involve other manufacturers in the region or elsewhere.

"Dr Habibie [president of IPTN] has already told us that we will be building aeroplanes from 20 up to 130 seats," says senior executive vice-president and general manager Hari Laksono. "Indonesia needs hundreds of these aeroplanes, so the domestic market alone is quite large enough for us to develop such an aircraft. We have just finished a study of that demand with the Minister of Transportation, with Merpati Nusantara, and other operators," he adds.

Indonesia's internal-air-transport infrastructure, with hundreds of short, unsealed, island and mountain airfields, would demand aircraft with similar STOL characteristics in hot-and-high conditions to those of the Twin Otter. Laksono says that any such aircraft would be "-fully commercial, so there would be no requirement for a rear-loading ramp door, as there was in the IPTN CN-235, for military and security requirements."

Laksono rules out redeveloping the CASA C-212, saying: "You have seen the recent developments in engines and propellers. We want to use the same technologies at the lower end as at the upper end."

Source: Flight International