Fast-growing New Zealand aircraft maker Pacific Aerospace today announced the introduction of another new aircraft to their product line up. The E-350 Expedition, due to roll out mid-next year, is a cross-country cruising aircraft, a rugged backcountry bush plane and a high performance float plane, said Pacific Aerospace chief executive Damian Camp.
The company has acquired the ownership and manufacturing rights of the E-350 Expedition from legendary Canadian company Found Aircraft, which had designed the aircraft to move people and equipment between lakes, glaciers and backcountry air strips, he said.
The FAA and Transport Canada certified E-350 will be manufactured at Pacific Aerospace's headquarters in Hamilton, New Zealand, from the second quarter of next year (2017).
Camp said the E-350 is a 5-seat short take-off and landing capable aircraft able to carry heavy loads into some of the world's most challenging airstrips.
With its rugged high payload performance the E350 is an ideal addition to Pacific Aerospace's major export success with the P-750 XSTOL, which the general aviation industry has recognised as the world's most versatile utility aircraft with extreme take-off and landing capabilities and now in use in many countries in roles from freight and passenger, border control and surveillance, photographic and geophysical survey, medical evacuations, skydiving and agricultural support.
Camp said Pacific Aerospace was extremely optimistic about the opportunities for the E-350.
“Pacific Aerospace has made a name for itself by manufacturing aircraft that can perform where others can't.”
“We identified this as an opportunity to take the E-350 to markets it's never been, utilising our strong distribution network of regional partners across the globe.”
The E-350 is powered by a Lycoming IO-580, 325 horsepower engine, with a turbo-charged engine option. It can carry a full load of passengers, baggage, and fuel for 750 nautical miles – better than any comparable aircraft, said Camp. The E-350's versatility and ruggedness already has a strong following with pilots and operators needing a no-compromises aircraft that performed in the toughest of conditions, he said.
Pacific Aerospace general manager of global markets, Mark Crouch, said the addition of the E-350 to the company's product range would help meet the demands of smaller operators and assist them to grow into a larger aircraft.
“The addition of the E-350, including the float plane and amphibian option, really opens new doors for us in regards to overseas relationships and sales opportunities,” Crouch said.
“The float plane market in particular is a very large but mostly unseen market with a large number of very old aircraft coming to the end of their productive lives. The E-350 is ideally placed to offer customers a chance to move up to a modern, state-of-the-art higher performance aircraft that will do all their old aircraft did, and more.”
Interest in the E-350 was building, Crouch said. Pacific Aerospace had received many inquiries since word got out that it had acquired ownership and manufacturing rights to the aircraft.
Pacific Aerospace announced its plans for manufacture of the E-350 at the China aviation spectacular Airshow China, just days after opening its joint venture custom-built 10 hectare aircraft manufacturing plant at Changzhou.
The opening saw the roll-out of the joint venture's first China aircraft, a reassembled P-750 XSTOL.
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