Jakarta. A prototype of the Indonesian Aerospace N219 twin-engine transport aircraft, designed for multi-purpose missions in remote areas, has completed its maiden flight on Wednesday (16/08) after resolving regulatory matters that have grounded it for more than a year.
The aircraft, equipped with two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-52 turboprop engines, lifted off from Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung, West Java, near the headquarters of state-controlled aircraft manufacturer Dirgantara Indonesia.
"The plane is good... Thanks to God that all went smoothly. We have to be proud because this plane is the creation of our own engineers," test pilot Capt. Esther Gayatri Saleh said, as quoted by Antaranews.com.
Indonesia has long aspired to locally produce aircraft for use in remote and inaccessible areas.
The National Space and Aviation Agency (Lapan) and Dirgantara Indonesia have been working on the aircraft since 2011 with the initial aim to have it enter commercial operations in 2019.
However, mechanical problems have plagued the airworthiness certification process with the Ministry of Transportation. The developers finally secured the certification last month.
Lapan head Thomas Djamaluddin said the N219 is equipped with a terrain awareness and warning system, while the aircraft also has a low stall speed of 59 knots, allowing it to navigate dangerous mountainous areas.
"We also want this plane to connect small islands that are near to each other... so we will develop an amphibious version," Thomas said, as quoted by Antaranews.com
Lapan and Dirgantara Indonesia have designed the N219 to be an all-rounder capable of transporting passengers or cargo, while being able to land and take off from rudimentary airstrips.
The aircraft can transport up to 19 passengers, while it has the flexibility to be transformed to carry cargo, or perform medical evacuations.