A prototype of the Evektor EV-55 Outback turboprop twin made its first flight from Kunovice Airport in the Czech Republic last Friday, delivering on a promise made by the fledgling aircraft manufacturer when it launched the project seven years ago.
Evektor test pilot Josef Charvat and military pilot Major Jiri Hana flew the airplane, – an EV-55M model – for 30 minutes, reaching a speed of 125 knots at an altitude of 3,500 feet.
The EV-55M is the military version of Evektor’s multi-purpose EV-55 Outback, a high-wing, twin-engine turboprop that is designed to carry up to 14 passengers or 4,000 pounds of cargo at a max cruise speed of 220 knots.
Developed to operate from short, unpaved strips and at high altitudes, the bulk of orders for the EV-55 have come from buyers in South America, Africa and Asia, the company reports. Evektor is targeting North America, Brazil, Russia, India, China and Australia, positioning the EV-55 as a replacement for aging piston twins with capacity for six to nine passengers and as a Cessna 208 Caravan competitor. Power comes from a pair of 536 shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-21 engines.
The EV-55 will be offered in three versions: passenger transport, cargo transport and combined version with space for cargo in the cabin forward section and passenger seating in the rear. The time required for conversion of the cabin interior is about 20 minutes, Evektor says.
Evektor launched development of the EV-55 in 2004. The Czech Republic company is best known for its single-engine light sport aircraft.