Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Indonesia's PTDI Makes Mixed Progress with Airliner Programs

Indonesia's PTDI is preparing to fly its other new high-wing turboprop, the 19-seat N219 multi-purpose aircraft.
(Photo: PTDI)

Regio Aviasi Industri (RAI), the Indonesian company that is trying to launch a new 80- to 90-seat turboprop regional airliner, is still seeking funding. It has received seed money from Indonesian investors and a commitment from Bandung-based Indonesian Aerospace (Indonesian acronym PTDI) to act as a subcontractor for full-scale development and production. Meanwhile, state-owned PTDI is continuing with preliminary design of its own regional airliner, a 50-seater designated N245. PTDI is also preparing to fly its other new high-wing turboprop, the 19-seat N219 multi-purpose aircraft.

The R80 project is the brainchild of former PTDI chief and Indonesian president Dr. B.J. Habibie, now 80 years old, who still strongly believes in the southeast Asian regional potential for advanced turboprop airliners. Under his leadership, PTDI (then known by the Indonesian acronym IPTN) launched development in the 1980s of a smaller turboprop airliner designated N250, and flew two prototypes in 1995-96. The N250 project was shelved in 1998 during the Asian financial and Indonesian political-cum-social crisis that led to Habibie’s short presidency of the country. Habibie and his son are major investors in RAI. which revealed the project in 2014.

The N245 was unveiled last November and would be a development from the CN235 military medium airlifter that IPTN co-developed with CASA (now Airbus Defence & Space) in the 1980s. It would have a new aft structure that eliminates the rear loading ramp of the CN235. PTDI is now the sole producer of the CN235, while Airbus D&S concentrates in Seville on production of the larger C295. The Indonesian airframer has recently handed over single examples of the CN235-200 to the Senegalese air force and the Thai police air arm. It is also preparing three maritime patrol versions of the CN235 for the Indonesian air force (one, adding to one already delivered) and Indonesian Navy (two, adding to three already delivered).

Meanwhile, during a recent AIN visit to Bandung, PTDI officials said that the company’s much smaller N219 turboprop will make its first flight in April this year. Full-scale development of this rugged high-wing design was launched in 2013, and the prototype was rolled out in November 2015. But this prototype was later disassembled for further work, and is still being re-assembled. A second prototype is also taking shape.

PTDI strongly believes in the N219’s potential to drive development of remote areas within Indonesia’s huge archipelago. Company officials told AIN that they have received 200 letters of intent for the 19-passenger, 2.5 tonne-payload STOL aircraft from Indonesian carriers, government agencies and local governments. The N219’s twin P&W Canada PT6A engines permit longer overwater flights than aircraft such as the Cessna Caravan, that currently fly to and from remote areas in the country, they added. For ease of operation and maintenance, the all-metal N219 will be certified to FAR part 23 standard, rather than the more complicated FAR Part 25 to which the somewhat similar NC-212 is designed.

The NC-212 is a version of the CASA C-212 that is licence-produced by PTDI. For the past four years this aircraft has been produced only at Bandung, where PTDI has introduced an improved version of the ultimate -400 version designed in Spain. This improvement is designated NC-212i, and has a glass cockpit. PTDI is currently delivering two NC212i aircraft to the Philippines, and three to Vietnam.

(Chris Pocock - AINOnline News)  

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