ATR is planning a performance improvement package for the ATR 42 to increase its capability of operating from small, remote airfields.
Chief executive Christian Scherer tells FlightGlobal that the manufacturer has devised several “manageable modifications” that would enable the 50-seater to operate from runways that “no other [comparable in-production] turboprop airplane can access”.
This will include adoption of lighter, more powerful carbon brakes, which are already employed on the larger ATR 72-600.
Another area is a potential rudder modification to increase the ATR 42’s manoeuvrability in order to fulfil more stringent certification requirements for operation during an engine failure, for example, at airfields with high terrain in the vicinity.
As the aircraft’s rudder is mechanically-actuated, the modification might require installation of a hydraulic actuation system, Scherer indicates.
“This opens, in theory if you look at a world map, whole bands of currently uncharted territory [for potential aircraft operation],” asserts Scherer.
While the development has not been launched yet, he says that ATR joint shareholders Airbus and Leonardo have authorised the turboprop manufacturer to offer the package to potential customers.
“We know we have a technical solution. If we find launch customers for this particular version, I will go the shareholders and ask for the development,” Scherer adds.