THE PROTOTYPE of the ST50 single-turboprop business aircraft was slightly damaged during an emergency landing in Israel on 19 May after an engine failure forced the pilot to land in a field near the airstrip.

The all-composite ST 50 has been developed by the Minnesota, US-based Cirrus Design for Israviation. The company, located in Kiryat-Shmona in northern Israel, re-assembled the aircraft earlier this year after completion of US test flying, and commenced its series of flights earlier this month.

The Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-137 engine has been returned to Canada to be stripped down and tested in an effort to find the fault. A new engine is being supplied to allow continuation of testing.

The incident occurred when the engine flamed out at an altitude of about 900ft (275m) during the third test flight of the day. The test pilots, Dani Shapira and Nahum Yoel, attempted to restart the engine, but failed.

The pilots brought the aircraft down in a field with the landing gear retracted. The ST50 skidded for 260m before coming to a stop. The two pilots were not hurt in the incident.

Stephane Juffa, president of Israviation, says that, apart from the propeller, "...the damage to the fuselage is minor".

Source: Flight International