Alaska-based Aero Twin hopes to win approval for its re-engined Cessna 208 Caravan programme by the end of March 2004 following US Federal Aviation Administration certification of the reconfigured Honeywell TPE331-12JR turboprop to be used in the conversion.

The two-year programme was due to be completed earlier, with flight tests beginning in 2002 (Flight International, 15-21 October 2002), but has been delayed by the subsequent introduction of revised FAA changed-product rules. Aero Twin subsidiary 850 LLC, the company that will own the supplemental type certificate (STC), says the conversion meets the new rules, however, and deliveries will begin in the second quarter of 2004.

The "firewall-forward" modification includes a new four-bladed, larger-diameter Hartzell propeller as well as the newly developed -701S version of the TPE331-12JR, which replaces the original Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engine. Developing 850shp (635kW), the derated turboprop produces dramatic changes in take-off and landing performance for both float- and wheel-equipped versions of the Caravan, says the company. The 2.78m (9.1ft)-diameter propeller generates up to 450shp in reverse and shortens the landing run by up to 25%. The company says amphibious Caravans now have a 12-14s take-off run from water, compared with around 28s for the standard-equipped aircraft.

Around 1,200 208s and 208B Super Caravans are eligible for retrofit, of which 115 are float-equipped, says Aero Twin. The company has been "approached by a number of operators" about a possible re-engining of the larger stretched 208B model using a higher 975shp rating of the -12JR, originally developed for the EADS Casa C212-400.

Source: Flight International