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Fairchild Dornier nears engine selection on 328 jet

Guy Norris/Palm Springs

Fairchild Dornier expects to select a turbofan for its proposed 30-seat 328-300 "later this month", according to vice-president for sales, Andrew Jampoler, and is targeting an entry- into-service date for the new aircraft of late 1998.

Engines being considered include General Electric's CFE738, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306/1 and two AlliedSignal Engines power plants: the LF507-1F and a de-rated LF507-2. Speaking at the first Speednews Regional and Corporate Aviation Industry Suppliers conference, in Palm Springs, California, Jampoler said: "The AlliedSignal proposition is interesting because we could offer the de-rated LF507 for the 30-seater and the same basic engine on the 50-seater [the proposed follow-on 328-700]. There are some real economic factors involved as to whether we do that or not, although, obviously, there is a bit of a penalty."

Cruise speed at 22,000ft (6,700m) will rise to between 375kt (690km/h) and 390kt with the turbofan, compared to the Dornier 328-110's current maximum speed of 335kt at 20,000ft. Comparative performance estimates for the LF507 and PW306-powered versions show a slightly higher block fuel consumption of 915kg at 31,000ft for the AlliedSignal engine, compared to 820kg for the P&WC power plant. The take-off field length, however, is expected to be at least 76m shorter for the LF507-powered alternative.

A feasibility study on the new project has been completed and only two airlines remain to be interviewed as part of a widespread customer assessment. "We are appointing some of the most enthusiastic to our airline advisory board," says Jampoler. Entry into service for the 30-seater could be as soon as the end of 1998, with a first flight set tentatively for the third quarter of 1997.

The slightly more ambitious 328-700 project, which involves stretching the fuselage with a 2.54m forward plug and a 3.17m aft plug, is potentially aimed at a first flight in early 1999 with entry into service around mid-2000.

Jampoler says that Fairchild Dornier has dropped plans for a turboprop 50-seat stretch of the 328. Engine choices for the 328-700 include the LF507-2, Allison AE 3007G, P&WC PW308 and GE CF34.

Base price for the 30-seater, including auxiliary power unit, is expected to be "under $10.5 million" says Jampoler, who adds that "-we could sell 60 to 80", based on current interest.

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