The Myasishchev Design Bureau has formed a joint venture with Cartwright Aviation of Virginia, aimed at eventual US production of the M-101T Gzhel light turboprop aircraft.

According to the Russian concern, the US Ìrm will assemble M-101Ts for the USmarket from parts made and supplied by the Sokol production plant in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. The Sokol plant will also assemble the aircraft, which carries two crew and up to six passengers, for other markets.

The single-engined, pressurised, turboprop is to be offered in future with optional instrument-flight-rules avionics from either AlliedSignal or Becker Avionics, says Myasishchev.

For the Becker-equipped aircraft, the company says that it plans to fly "green" airframes, with basic instrumentation, from Nizhny Novgorod to Germany, where the full avionics suite would be fitted, and the aircraft interior would be furnished by DLE Luftfahrtservice of Baden-Baden.

While Myasishchev stresses that these projects are "at a preliminary stage", it is believed that the seventh prototype could already have the German equipment on board. The company is scheduled to produce an initial batch of 25 M-101Ts, and expects Russian certification "by June of next year".

The design bureau predicts US and German certification to US Federal Aviation Regulation Part 23 standards soon after, and says that potential customers have expressed an interest in the aircraft.

Representatives of Myasishchev and Sokol express doubts about the planned Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-64-powered variant of the aircraft, however. Sokol says that the Canadian engine is "too expensive", while Myasishchev maintains that there is no need for an alternative powerplant when the standard, Czech-built Walter M601F engine is a good, internationally certificated, engine.

The option of fitting a Hartzell propeller in future, as an alternative to the current V-510 five-bladed propeller, remains open, says the design bureau.

The aircraft has a maximum cruising speed of 270kt (500km/h) and a ceiling of 25,000ft (7,600m), with a maximum take-off weight of 3,000kg and a maximum range of 2,500km (1,100nm). It has a sticker price of about $1.3 million.

Source: Flight International