Czechs Developing Twin, Trainer, And Cruiser

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It's been awhile since a 9-to-14-passenger utility twin turboprop was certified and the next one may come from the Czech Republic. Evektor hopes the PT-6A-21-powered E-55 Outback will fill a vacuum left by 30- to 50-year-old aircraft that are nearing the end of their service lives. The company, which produced 110 planes in 2005 but may be better known on this side of the Atlantic for its Light Sport category aircraft, such as the SportStar, describes itself as a major player in east European aviation and says it's filling an obvious need with a new twin. First flight is planned for 2007 with Part 23 certification and first deliveries in 2009. Evektor's year-end newsletter says the E-55 will carry up to 14 passengers or 4021 pounds of cargo with a cruise speed of 220 knots at 10,000 feet. The company is also taking aim at the high-performance single market. Its VUT 100 Cobra appears to be a contender in the Cirrus/Columbia class with seating for up to five and a choice of 200- and 315-horsepower Lycoming engines. Estimated cruise in the economy version is 155 knots while Evektor is hoping for 175 knots in the more muscular version. The company unveiled the Cobra at last year's EAA AirVenture and is hoping to have it certified by the end of this year.