Taiwan's Chung Shan Institute has completed the preliminary design work on its proposed new six-to nine-seat turboprop, and is now seeking to enlist partners to launch full-scale design and development of the programme.

Conceptual and preliminary design work on the tentatively designated small aircraft project (SAP) has until now been funded by Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs. It now needs partners "-to create a critical mass" to launch the programme, says TC Lee, manager of the institute's aeronautical systems research division.

Lee claims that the institute is now holding detailed negotiations with one "specific partner" and that it hopes to announce a joint-venture type of agreement by the end of the year. "We can build the aircraft, but we need someone else to sell it," he adds.

The institute plans to source locally as much of the SAP as possible, such its landing gear, actuators, control system and interior. Structural manufacturing would probably be subcontracted to the nearby Aerospace Industry Development plant in Taichung, which hopes to build the first prototype within three years.

According to Lee, the blended-wing SAP design was originally conceived as a twin-engine turboprop, but the institute is now studying development of a second, jet-powered, version. The aircraft will need either two 633kW (850shp) turboprops or twin 8.45kN (1,900lb)-thrust turbofans, such as the Williams-Rolls FJ44.

The institute says that it is also studying an integrated cockpit design for the 4,767kg (10,500lb)-class aircraft and has already held discussions with both Bendix and Rockwell-Collins.

Source: Flight International