PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) is scheduled to roll out the first example of its N219 light transport on 10 August (national technology day) next year, in advance of an expected first flight in December and certification in 2016. A ceremony was held at the company’s Bandung facility in September to mark the first metal cutting.
PTDI has designed the aircraft to answer a need for a rugged short take-off and landing (STOL) airliner able to operate in and out of remote, semi-prepared airstrips. Indonesia’s remote islands and mountainous regions rely almost completely on air transport, so the need for this kind of aircraft is obvious.
As well as having the necessary strength and performance required for such operations, the N219 is also intended to be safe, reliable and cost-effective. PTDI has pitched the N219 at a lower cost than the rival Twin Otter, yet it uses modern engines and avionics as demanded for both safety and reliability.
Through its long strategic collaboration with CASA (now Airbus Defence & Space), PTDI has been building the CASA C212 Aviocar for many years, and is now the sole source for this rugged light transport (in its modernised NC212i version). Experience with the NC212 has aided the N219’s design, and indeed forms the basis of the new aircraft. However, the N219 is longer and more refined.
Aerodynamically cleaner than its predecessor, the N219 has its wing mounted higher to minimise cabin intrusion, creating what its designers claim is the largest cabin available in its class (6.50 x 1.82 x 1.70m). The N219 also features a sprung undercarriage rather than the Aviocar’s sponson-mounted wheels.
Power is provided by two 850shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42 turboprops. These give a take-off of around 600m, while the N219 will stop in less than 800m. PTDI has selected a Garmin flight deck with a five-screen display for the aircraft. In the airliner role, the N219 is intended to carry up to 19 passengers in a 2+1 seating arrangement.
PTDI is targeting a variety of operators, including military, and has outlined various mission options such as troop or VIP transport, and freight delivery with a two-tonne capacity. The N219 can also be outfitted for maritime surveillance, search and rescue, or medical evacuation.
Initially, the focus will be on the domestic market, where PTDI has had interest for more than 100 aircraft. With this priority demand satisfied, the company could seek European EASA certification with the help of partner Airbus to offer the N219 for export.