The Explorer 500T program is alive and well, but Explorer Aircraft president Bryan Lynch says the single-engined turboprop utility aircraft is $100 million short in investment capital to take the model from its prototype to production.

Explorer is working with M7 Aerospace (booth 962) at San Antonio, Texas. Lynch says the Texan company's skilled workforce and manufacturing experience means the project is "completely do-able."

The Explorer is described as a versatile 10-seat workhorse, with a large roomy cabin that "is ideal for business aviation." Lynch sees the aircraft as a competitor to the smaller Cessna Caravans. "The average age of twins with more than seven seats in the US is 38 years old. This will be a modern airplane with Garmin 1000 avionics. It will be 25% cheaper to operate than the Caravan and will cruise at 200kt [370km/h]."

It is expected to sell at $1.8 million.

Graphics showing the aircraft are on display at the M7 booth. "We don't really want to take orders or promote the aircraft until the funding is in place," Lynch says. "But we are talking to potential investors and are confident. The prototype has flown 480h in flight testing. We will be able to offer retractable gear. I am looking forward to us achieving the next stage."

Source: Flight Daily News