A Czech-built L410 powered by two GE H80 turboprop engines took off for the first time on Wednesday for a 40-minute test flight, jump-starting the next step in the certification process for the aircraft-engine combination.
The flight took place in Kunovice in the Czech Republic and, according to Paul Theofan, president of GE Aviation Czech, signifies the first time the H80 has been used to power a commuter airplane.
“The team is thrilled with the initial test flight data,” Theofan said in a statement.
The H80-powered L410 is expected to continue flight testing until the third quarter of next year. After certification, Aircraft Industries, the L410’s current manufacturer, will offer the H80 engine on all new L410 aircraft and as an upgrade option for existing L410 aircraft powered by Walter/GE M601 engines.
More than 450 of the 1,100 L410 aircraft produced still remain in service. While the L410 is primarily used in Russia, South America and Africa, GE and Aircraft Industries say the new engine will improve the aircraft’s performance and expand its use in other areas of the world.