Privately owned French turbofan development company Price Induction will this week buck the difficult capital markets when it signs for a new round of financing here at Le Bourget.
The 10-year-old company based at Anglet near Biarritz hopes to certificate its DGEN 380 small turbofan for what it calls the personal light jet class of aircraft within three years.
Chief executive Bernard Etcheparre says the venture capital-funded enterprise, which has been assisted by Safran's Turbomeca unit, has spent €7 million ($9.8 million) to date and expects to spend another €10 million over the next three years. Investors include Financiere de Brienne and ACE Management of France.
Price Induction believes it can carve out its own niche by optimising its engine for the personal light jet application, aiming for a design point that maximises efficiency in the 10,000-25,000ft (3,000-7,600m) altitude band and 250-280kt (460-520km/h) speed bracket. The basic DGEN 380, with a 7.5 by-pass ratio, offers a take-off thrust of only 575lb (2.55kN) and the larger DGN 390 would be 740lb.
Etcheparre says he has spoken to many pilots who have been highly sceptical of current very light jet designs with high performance and enabling high-altitude flight, leading to his use of the PLJ terminology. He says insurers have also told him they are deeply reluctant to support private pilots operating that class of aircraft. The PLJ concept encompasses a family of T-tailed, rear-mounted twinjets of four to five seats.
Price Induction is also relying on the tendency of bigger rivals in the small turbofan class to design engines with an eye on growth opportunities which may make the basic powerplants less optimal.
He says: "The idea is to have an engine that is optimised for this purpose."
The firm has been working with retired Embraer designer Guido Pessoti, who has produced a conceptual twin-PLJ design christened the GP210.
The DGEN 380 has been extensively bench-tested and Price Induction hopes to conduct controlled atmosphere tests in about a year's time.
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It hopes to commence the formal certification process at around the same time, kicking off when it expects to be a two-year process.
Source: Flight Daily News