Small planes manufacturer Evektor unveils sleek but tough 10-seater

EV 55 - Outback, foto:

Moravian small planes manufacturer Evektor, based near Zlin, has reason to celebrate: on Wednesday the firm – which specialises in two-seat aircraft – rolled out its first larger passenger plane in 40 years. The sleek EV 55 Outback, is designed for extreme conditions (hence the name) and is expected to go into commercial production in roughly three years’ time.

EV-55 Outback
With pride members of Evektor’s management & construction team unveiled the prototype EV 55 Outback on Wednesday, rolling the shiny aircraft out of a local hangar and onto the tarmac. The plane, which seats 10 including the pilot, is the result of more than five years of planning and development. A little earlier on a line to Moravia I spoke to the firm’s Petr Grebeníček, in charge of marketing:

“Of course this day was important for us. We build ultra lights or small sport planes for individual customers but the new EV 55 is our first small passenger plane. It will be good for firms needing to transfer personnel or cargo. The plane makes use of modern technology and materials: 15 percent is made from composites. Another advantage is that it was also designed to land with a full payload on un-reinforced runways – grass airstrips – or strips at high altitudes. That’s also the reason we called the model the Outback.”

EV-55 Outback
According to Mr Grebeníček, such attributes will make the EV 55 ideal for Asian, African, South American and Australian markets, providing the firm with a competitive edge. Evektor is aiming to roll the first production models out of the factory in 2013. Before that plenty of stages still remain - among them the plane’s maiden flight in the autumn – and additional tests. Marketing director Petr Grebeníček says until now the prototype was only tested in computer simulations:

“The first flight will take place in the third quarter – but from all the computer tests we expect the plane to handle extremely well. We don’t expect any problems. Two more prototypes are nearing completion and one will be used for structural testing – the wing for example is complete and has already been sent to the Aeronautical Research and Test Institute in Prague. The third will be tested for individual parts. The plane should then be commercially available in 2013.”

The EV 55 Outback will be able to fly as high as 3,000 metres above ground and travel more than 2,500 kilometres in one journey. Once it goes into official production, the manufacturer hopes that interest among buyers will be high.