Andrew Doyle/PRAGUE

Czech/Belgian joint venture Wolfsberg-Evektor Aircraft aims to fly its prototype eight-passenger Raven in May, in time for the utility aircraft to be exhibited at the Farnborough air show in July.

The Raven, powered by two 223kW (300hp) Teledyne Continental IO-550-Ns, is built at Evektor-Aerotechnik's factory in Kunovice, Czech Republic. Evektor, which is marketing the aircraft in central and eastern Europe, expects to announce the first customer early in 2000, says chairman Jaroslav Ruzicka. Its joint venture partner, Wolfsberg, provided half of the development funding and will sell the aircraft throughout Western Europe.

Certification to US Federal Aviation Regulation FAR-23 and European Joint Airworthiness Requirement JAR-23 is expected by the end of 2001, says Ruzicka, as are first deliveries.

Evektor-Aerotechnik formed a separate joint venture with Guizhou Aviation in October, aiming to certificate the Raven in China and setting up a licensed production line. Guizhou is responsible for building the Raven's undercarriage, and has delivered the first unit for the prototype aircraft, which is in production and due to be rolled out in the second quarter of 2000.

The high-wing, twin tail-boom Raven has a maximum all-up weight of 2,700kg (5,947lb) and can carry eight passengers or an equivalent load of cargo. Ruzicka says a key market will be that of owner-operated executive aircraft, and adds that the aircraft can easily be adapted to operate with floats.

Evektor-Aerotechnik was responsible for much of the design of the Ibis Aerospace Ae-270 single-turboprop utility aircraft, for which it produces the rear fuselage, empennage and cargo doors. It was also involved in the development of the Aero Vodochody L-159 advanced light attack aircraft.

The company was formed earlier this year after the merger of privately owned Evektor and bankrupt motor glider manufacturer Aerotechnik.

The latter's main product was the EV-97 Eurostar two-seater, of which 130 have been delivered in the past three years, but which is no longer being sold.

Source: Flight International