PT DI accelerates N-219 aircraft toward commercial production in 2020. State-owned aircraft manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PT DI) will begin commercial production of its N-219 aircraft next year to meet the growing demand for small airplanes both at home and overseas.
N-219 program manager Palmana Banandhi at PT DI said that the that the N-219’s 19-seater transport aircraft was expected to enter the market in 2020 at the initial price of US$6 million per aircraft.
The N-219 aircraft was expected to fulfill 25 percent of the global demand for 532 aircraft over the next 11 years.
The company plans to produce four N-219 aircraft during its first year of commercial production, eight aircraft in the second year and 12 aircraft in the third year. The annual production output would increase to 24 aircraft in the fourth year and 36 aircraft in the fifth year.
A number of domestic and foreign institutions have expressed their interest in purchasing N-219 aircraft, including the provincial governments of Aceh, North Kalimantan and Papua.
PT DI has increased the number of test flights for two of its N-219 prototypes in Bandung, West Java, in an effort to accelerate the process of obtaining aircraft type certification from the Transportation Ministry.
The first prototype is being used to assess flight and structural performance, while the second prototype is being used to check the aircraft’s electronic systems. PT DI expects to complete all aircraft type certification requirements this year.
“We have completed a total of 300 flight test hours to date, including the trials we conducted last year,” Palmana said in Bandung on Sept. 12.
He added that PT DI had been flight testing the first prototype since July 16 in Pangandaran, West Java. “We tested [flight] performance and control. We plan to assess [flight] control and stability, its flight stall characteristics next week. We expect everything to be wrapped up by next week. After that, we’ll conduct further checks to see whether the first prototype experiences any significant turbulence at high altitudes,” said Palmana.
The company’s engineers built a second N-219 prototype to expedite the aircraft’s certification. The second prototype completed its first test flight in December 2018 to assess its avionics. “The second prototype recently completed a weeklong flight test in Surakarta, Central Java. The results were quite good. We expect to complete the certification process for both planes this year,” said Palmana.
He added that despite rigorous testing, the total flight test hours the N-219 prototypes had completed still paled in comparison to the N-250, which took its maiden flight in August 1995. This was due to the difference in the two models’ passenger capacity. The N-219 was designed to carry up to 19 passengers, whereas the N-250 could carry up to 50 passengers.
“Therefore, the certification process [for the N-219] will not take as long as the N-250,” he said.
PT DI corporate secretary Irlan Budiman said the N-250 obtained its certification more than two decades ago in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the United States.
The company built four prototypes of the N-219 for certification purposes.
“Two prototypes were meant to test physical [sic] flight, while the other two were intended for structural tests. So we have four total airframes, [with] two used for system checks. We built multiple prototypes to speed up the certification process, so that the tests could be done simultaneously,” said Palmana.
The two prototypes are set to undergo static and fatigue testing. PT DI plans to conduct 3,000 fatigue test cycles to obtain an aircraft type certificate from the Transportation Ministry this year. The aircraft type certificate must be obtained before applying for the manufacturing certificate that is needed to commence mass production.
Palmana said that he expected the N-219 to fulfill Presidential Decree No. 70/2017 on public services for transporting goods to and from remote regions, touting the aircraft’s “superior capabilities” to navigate complicated terrain like mountainous regions. PT DI accelerates N-219 aircraft toward commercial production in 2020 (rfa, Arya Dipa, The Jakarta Post)
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