Return of the Turbine Mallard?

** Turbine Mallard**

A new Texas company called Mallard Aircraft says it plans to bring the Turbine Mallard back into production more than 40 years after the original PT6-powered amphibian first took to the skies.

The newly produced Turbine Mallard would use a pair of Pratt & Whitney PT6A engines and modern Rockwell Collins avionics, according to the company's website. Based on preliminary specs, the 21st century Mallard would cruise at 190 knots with a useful load of 5,700 pounds and room for 17 passengers plus two pilots.

Aviation industry veteran Sam Jantzen is leading the program in Cleburne, Texas, with plans to bring back the Mallard by building on work pioneered in the 1970s by the late J. Fred Frakes, who bought the airplane's type certificate and built a handful of turbine Mallards. They are best known for operating in the fleet of the former Chalk's Ocean Airways in Florida.

Jantzen is the former COO of Raisbeck Engineering, among other roles in aviation he has held over the years. He will be responsible for determining how best to put the airplane back into production. Mallard Aviation is an affiliate of the original Frakes Aviation, which still owns the Mallard type certificate and today makes OEM turbine exhaust stacks for various airplanes, including the Quest Kodiak.

The original Grumman Mallard built between 1946 and 1952 was fitted with a pair of Pratt & Whitney R-1340 radial engines. Grumman built 59 in all.

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