Luscombe Aircraft is "in talks" with aircraft companies in Europe, South America and Australia over the possible establishment of licensed overseas production of the Spartan 185 four-seater.

The Oklahoma-based manufacturer hopes to achieve US Federal Aviation Administration type certification for the Spartan "as early as April", with initial deliveries starting immediately afterwards. Although the company's Altus headquarters is sized to expand ultimately to produce as many as 500 Spartans a year, Luscombe says overseas licensed production is "logical" to serve potentially huge foreign markets.

Although Luscombe declines to specify which companies are in talks, they are located in Australia, Brazil and the Netherlands. The establishment of the non-US lines is tied to what Luscombe describes as "significant interest" from several military and commercial training establishments. "We're talking potential purchases of around 50 plus with each batch," says the company. Of the orderbook, estimated at 300, five-sixths are believed to be from non-US customers.

At around $162,500 equipped for IFR (instrument flight rules), and $140,000 for VFR (visual flight rules), the Spartan is "$60,000 to $80,000 cheaper than an equivalent Cessna 182", Luscombe says.

Source: Flight International