West Indies Company Plans Unique Commuter Plane

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Integrity Aircraft Holdings Ltd. (IAHL) of Nevis, in the West Indies, recently announced it will develop an 18-20-seat commuter aircraft with a single 1,100-hp Honeywell TPE 331-12 mounted on the tail. The aircraft is similar in appearance to the British-built Britten-Norman Trislander, which has three piston engines, one each on the wings and the third on the tail. In news releases appearing on stock watch Web sites, IAHL CEO Peter Van Dyke said the single tail-mounted turboprop offers numerous advantages over conventional configurations, including the ability to leave the engine running while loading and unloading, thus cutting the number of start cycles on the engine. Van Dyke said he expects to sell the aircraft for $1.9 million and, although it's strictly a paper airplane at this stage, he's hoping for certification sometime next year.

The aircraft appears to be designed for short-haul service between small airports, like those operated by Caribbean airlines. The original name for the aircraft was the Island Hopper but it's been changed to the Integrity. The company claims STOL capability off unimproved strips with a cruise speed of 170 knots. Gross weight is about 10,000 pounds. The company says it has U.S. patents on the design.