Explorer Aircraft, an offshoot of Aero Engineers Australia, has once again launched efforts in the US in pursuit of FAA Part 23 certification for its utility turboprops. The 500T—a 10-seat-plus-pilot high-wing airplane—made its first flight in 2000, and the 750T—a stretched version powered by the Pratt & Whitney PT6A-60A at 750 hp—will purportedly meet the demand for short-haul, regional transportation with its 16-passenger configuration.
Explorer Aircraft had set up shop in Jasper, Texas, in 2008, and now—apparently with new management—the company is at work identifying potential locations for the manufacturing of the 500T and 750T stateside. According to a company release, Bryan Lynch, CEO, said, “Explorer Aircraft studied the existing applications and the growing worldwide need for a new modern light-utility aircraft. With a comprehensive understanding of the applications for these aircraft, and the age of the existing fleet, our renowned design and engineering team have developed an aviation platform to meet and exceed user requirements for the next 75 years.”
Preliminary specifications for the 750T point to 480 cu ft of cargo space, including an 80 cu ft cargo pod, with a maximum takeoff weight of 9,000 lbs. The 750T is projected to have a takeoff roll of 1,200 ft, a cruise speed of up to 200 ktas, and a maximum range of up to 2,000 nm. Though the initial iteration would be fueled by jet-A, the company indicates that future versions may accommodate hydrogen- and hybrid-electric powerplants.