Kate Sarsfield/LONDON GrahamWarwick/WASHINGTON DC

Russia's Myasishchev Design Bureau has formed a joint venture with General Aircraft USA and several other US investors to "produce four niche aircraft for the world market".

General Aircraft USA will be responsible for assembly, engine and avionics installation, and US certification of four Myasishchev-designed aircraft - the M-203PW piston-single; an M-101PW seven-seat "Bush Plane" single-turboprop; the M-201PW ten-seat twin turboprop; and an M-202PW eight- to 19-seat multi-role, pusher turboprop, executive aircraft.

The two concerns are co-operating in a joint venture also known as General Aircraft(Flight International, 27 August-2 September).

Myasishchev, which owns 25% of the venture, is contributing design rights to the aircraft as well as engineering expertise, to achieve US certification. Vernon Cartwright, General Aircraft's president and chief executive, owns a further 25%, along with some undisclosed local investors. The remaining 50% stake will be acquired by shareholders.

Work is under way to raise the $44 million needed to certificate and begin production of the aircraft. Cartwright expects prototypes of the M203PW and MIOIPW to be in the US for certification flight-testing by late 1998.

Three Walter M 601F- powered M101 prototypes are now undergoing flight-testing for Russian certification, which is scheduled for June 1998. Cartwright says that the aircraft will be re-engined with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6As for US certification.

The M-203 has been flown, but is being extensively redesigned at General Aircraft insistence and will be powered by a 335kW P&WC R985 radial.

Cartwright hopes to assemble all four aircraft at Williamsburg Airport in Newport News, Virginia, where a medium-sized jet-maintenance service centre is planned.

Source: Flight International