TAIWAN IS PREPARED to back a joint venture with Advanced Aerodynamics and Structures (AASI) to produce the Jetcruzer six-seat single-turboprop aircraft, according to local reports.

Jack Tang, deputy director of the Taiwanese economics ministry's committee for aviation and space industry development, is quoted as saying that the venture could be established by June 1996, with production of the Jetcruzer to begin in Taiwan in early 1988.

California-based AASI received US certification for the $1.2 million canard-configuration, pusher-propeller, Jetcruzer in June 1994, but has yet to deliver a production aircraft - despite claiming orders for more than 60 examples. The company recently relocated from Burbank to Long Beach and, according to senior vice-president Gene Comfort, is preparing to resume flight-testing of the aircraft with a larger engine.

The Jetcruzer was certificated with a 500kW (680shp) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27, but AASI is now installing the 840kW PT6A-42 in a prototype and the first production aircraft. Comfort claims that the first Jetcruzer will be ready for delivery by the end of February 1996, following amended certification of the uprated version.

AASI plans limited production of the Jetcruzer at its Long Beach site, but confirms that talks are under way to establish a second line in Taiwan. Yeh Sung-ken, president of Taiwanese car manufacturer Yeu Tyan Machinery, owns more than 50% of AASI. Reports say that AASI is expected to own 30% of the joint venture, with local firms taking the remainder and the ministry providing $20 million in loans to fund development of the aircraft.

Comfort says that AASI has secured or identified funding for limited production of the Jetcruzer. He adds that the firm is also evaluating seven proposals to fund development of the Stratocruzer, a ten- to 13-seat pressurised twin-turbofan derivative of the Jetcruzer concept.

Source: Flight International