Russian design bureau Myasishchev is aiming for preliminary certification of its M-101T Gzhel light turboprop before the end of 1997, as it evaluates a Western-engined derivative.

Initial production of the single-engined, six-seat, pressurised turboprop is being undertaken at the Sokol production plant in Nizhne Novgorod.

The M-101T was first flown in March 1995. Four aircraft have been completed, including three being used for flight test, plus a fourth, static-test, airframe.

M-101T chief designer Eugene Charsky says that the aircraft is expected to receive "-temporary Russian certification for cargo operations this year. Full approval for passenger operations is expected in the first quarter of 1998."

Charsky says that the aircraft will have a maximum operating speed of 270kt (500km/h), and a maximum altitude of 25,000ft.

Following Russian certification, the design bureau will work with an undisclosed German partner, says Charsky, to achieve certification in Germany, adding that US Federal Aviation Administration approval will also be sought. Charsky adds that Myasishchev is considering locating final-assembly lines in Germany and the USA.

While the initial batch of production aircraft are powered by the Czech Walter M 601F turboprop engine driving an AV-510 five-bladed propeller, the option of a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-64-powered version, with a Hartzell propeller, is being studied.

An example will be at the Paris air show this month. The aircraft, which has a "sticker price" of about $1.3 million, is up against light turboprops such as the Socata TBM 700 and Cessna 208 Caravan.

Source: Flight International