ATR is investigating a possible reduction in the ATR 42/72’s field requirements following a request from a potential customer for an aircraft capable of operating from 800m (2,440ft) runways.

Eric Delesalle, vice-president of the Franco-Italian joint venture’s flight test division, says the shortest runway typically served by ATR operators is around 1,000m. “Runways over 1,200m can be used without any restrictions,” he says. However, to enable the aircraft to operate comfortably from 800m strips, the manufacturer has begun proof-of-concept trials of modifications to lower the aircraft’s Vmca (minimum control speed in the air). This will enable lower take-off safety speeds, reducing the distance required to become airborne.

“We have flown some tests with our ATR 72-500 prototype equipped with a rudder modification providing greater deflection,” says Delesalle. “We’ve reduced the Vmca by 6kt (11km/h). Our next task is to test the concept on an ATR 42-500 to confirm that we get the same gain.”

Delesalle is confident the tests will succeed. Once these have been completed – and if the sales campaign is successful – ATR will begin a short certification programme. “This should be no more than two months,” he says.


Source: Flight International