Kestrel Aircraft’s CEO and president Alan Klapmeier and the company’s COO and executive vice president of product development Steve Serfling provided an update to the media on the Kestrel single-engine turboprop project in a press conference at AirVenture. Klapmeier said he had hoped to be able to announce full funding for the Kestrel turboprop program at the show, a program he said requires approximately $175 million, but some promising deals that he had hoped to close last week did not come through.
Klapmeier said the schedule for first delivery is likely to slip from 2015 to 2016. “A year from now, assuming that the funding happens, we should have a conforming prototype,” Klapmeier said. While the lack of funding may be holding back the progress of the program, Serfling said 85 percent of the suppliers for the airplane are now under contract.
The big announcement from Kestrel this week was the selection of Garmin’s G3000 touchscreen-controlled integrated avionics system. “One of the beauties of Garmin is that it can fully integrate with the airplane,” said Serfling. Kestrel’s G3000 will feature at least two 14-inch PFD and MFD screens, a three-axis autopilot, Garmin ESP (Electronic Stability and Protection), dual WAAS GPS and AHRS, SafeTaxi and electronic charts and checklists.
While the commitment has now been made for the G3000 panel, Klapmeier said another system will likely also be offered. “I believe competition is essential to reducing cost or at least controlling cost and driving innovation,” Klapmeier said.
Despite the fact that progress has been made on the program, “we are not taking orders,” Klapmeier said. He said early orders from speculative buyers “confuse the market and confuse the company. There is no real advantage to that.” Kestrel will likely not take orders until the conforming prototype has flown.
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