READ: BLOG Article of March 9, 2017 on the 2016 General Aviation turboprop market
Evektor’s Press Release – numerous media today:
16. 3. 2017
It is our obligation to inform you that Evektor has temporarily put the EV-55 project on hold until some uncertainties have been solved with our Malaysian investor.
In any case, to secure the EV-55 program, several solutions are currently in progress with which we hope the certification milestone will be achieved, as recently planned.
We would like to ask our suppliers and potential customers for their patience. In the meantime, we look forward to doing business with this high potential aircraft!
Potential yes, the only 10-14 seat twin engine turboprop utility aircraft designed for short field operations to replace the thousands of piston cabin twins (C-402’s, PA31’s, BN2’s, C-404’s, etc.) and even old turboprops like Beech 99’s, Piper T-1040’s, etc. A twin competitor to the Textron Aviation C208/208B, the market potential is estimated to be around 1,200 aircraft over 20 years.
I know the program well, and undertook the first marketing and product concept over 10 years ago, it was my ‘baby’ and sadly this day was coming, I followed the program on my blog (www.AviationDoctor@wordpress.com) for some time.
In short, there is NO money for the program to continue its EASA certification and then ramp up for production, that $90 million was just not found and the Malaysian investor, Aspirasi Pertiwi Sdn. Bhd. run by former Malayasian P.M. Dr. Mahatir bin Mohamad never came up with the promised $200 million as promised in 2014, just +/- $12 million and screwed up the program with its own Mr. David Chew, at this time the Malaysians have around 12% of Evektor shares, so a small minority owner and that should not be an issue why they are stopping the program.
Its all about money, $90 million or so for certification and ramp up and the 3 owners are looking for $100 million, which I and anyone else fail to see what for. The program was mostly funded by funds provided by the Czech Ministry of Trade and Industry and the EU to stimulate the Czech aerospace GA industry, with originally 16 partner sin the EV-55 program (Aero Vodochody, Avia Propeller, Jihlavan Jihlava, Mesit Instruments, Technometra Radotin, etc.).
Lots of promise but the program for now is dead, and while it has much potential, it has been ‘walking dead’ for sometime now and a lot of the blame has to fall on the poor leadership and management of Evektor and CEO Jaroslav Ruzicka, and the internal legal and verbal fighting between the three “partners” (Jaroslav Ruzicka, Libor Duchtik and Josef Vavra), which should scare off any potential investor.
The company is infamous in the USA when in 2008 it was selling its LSA 2 seat Sportstar aircraft in Euros and not $US to the ridicule and disgust of US customers and prospects, most had never heard of Euros at the time.
I have NO idea why Evektor hired a seasoned aerospace executive as CEO like Gerd Berchtold (ex-Diamond Aircraft, EADS Military, DASA Military, MBB) in late January, 2017, when without money, there is nothing he or anyone can do for the company. The company needs money and then leadership followed by qualified people to get certification done and prepare for production.
The Czechs have had 6 other promising programs in the past 25 years, but ALL 6 died.
Though there are on and off plans I hear about all the time to revive the IBIS Ae-270 (a slow pressurized single engine turbine, poorly positioned and stuck not being anything, not a C208B and not a TBM or PC-12 or even a M500) and the Zlin-Z-400 Rhino (a DHC-2 replacement ? that originated in Russia as the Technoavia SM-92 Finist, and plans to use the questionable Orenda E-600 engine).
(PHOTOS left to right: Ibis Ae-270, Let-610G, VUT-100 Cobra, Wolfsberg 257, Ayres LM-200 Loadmaster, Zlin Z-400 Rhino).
A very good industry that could never get past engineering, design and prototype construction, each one of the below 6 (barring maybe the Ayres LM-200 Loadmaster), could have done well in their respective market segments, with some product refinements and good sales, marketing and product support, all pretty much unknown in the Czech Republic even today. In the coming weeks I will write about some of those programs and the challenges they had.
Is the Let-410NG next ? as its Russian owner is moving production to Russia for a “Russian” version of the Let-410-UVP-E with Russian turboprop engines, propellers, avionics and interiors, while the new Let-410NG powered by GE H80 engines and with Garmin G3000 avionics struggles through certification and financial problems as well. The aircraft promises more speed (up to 223 kts) and more range.
An investigation by a friend of mine into some LET-410 fatal crashes in the past few years will be released soon, detailing major problems with the aicraft’s AFM and W&B and having read it, there may be some repercussions on the OEM, as safety is of great concern, all in due course.
The workers in Kunovice, the town in the Czech Republic where both Evektor and Let are based have to be worried, as this bastion of Czech aircraft manufacturing is facing dark clouds these days, just as GE is creating its turboprop Center of Excellence in the country, and should be powering both the L410NG and the EV-55, which in a ‘perfect world’ should be producing at least 60 turboprop aircraft (120 engines) a year by 2018, but it may come to pass that NO turboprop aircraft will be built in the Czech Republic by then.
Till next time, thank you for reading my blog, cheers.