Samara, Russia-based TsKB Progress, better known as the producer of the Soyuz rocket, has produced a fifth Rysachok twin-turboprop utility aircraft, which is undergoing certification flight trials.

Two of the aircraft - intended to replace the ageing Antonov An-2 biplane - are undergoing static trials, with another pair being tested at Russia's TsAGI flight research institute, says Progress' head of construction projects, Yevgeny Gordeyev.

The fifth aircraft is in certification flight trials, with certification planned for 2012, said Gordeyev.

 © Alexander Zudin

The aircraft, designed by Moscow's Technoavia, was initially designed as a flight crew trainer for Russia's main civil flight training school in Ulyanovsk, and has a Garmin glass cockpit with rear cabin seats for an instructor to monitor students in the front seats.

The Rysachok can also be reconfigured in 30min for other roles, such as light cargo, with a payload of up to 1.5 tonnes.

The aircraft can also be used for passengers, with up to ten seats, parachuting - thanks to its large port-side door - or aeromedical services.

 Rysachok cockpit
 © Alexander Zudin

The aircraft is not pressurised but can be fitted with oxygen for rear-cabin passengers, for emergency use or for parachutists.

The prototype aircraft are fitted with 760hp (567kW) Czech-built Walter 601 engines, but production aircraft will be fitted with a more powerful GE H80 engine producing 800hp.

Maximum flight range is 1,081nm (2,000km), and the aircraft has a cruise speed 216kt (400km/h), with a ceiling of 19,672ft (6,000m).

The aircraft can fly in visual flight rules conditions and use unpaved strips.

There are no firm orders for the Rysachok as yet, but Progress hopes to deliver at least 30 to Russian flight schools initially.

Source: Flight International