LONDON – ATR announced in mid-May this year the successful first flight of a short take-off and landing (STOL) variant of the ATR 42-600S aircraft in transition configuration. The flight, which was operated from Toulouse Francazal Airport, lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Focus now on Testing
The crew onboard carried out a number of tests to check the operation and performance of the aircraft’s upgraded systems. Following the successful completion of the first flight, new features such as the new generation multifunctional flight computer (MFC-NG) will be successively tested, followed by the automatic braking systems, new spoilers and systems to assist aircraft take-off.
Thus, the first phase of the 42-600S conversion process has been completed. The aircraft will now be prepared for its final configuration, which is expected to be ready by the end of the year with the addition of a new, larger rudder. The purpose of this change is to provide better controllability at low speeds. Certification of the new ATR by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will then begin in 2023.
According to the manufacturer, currently, nearly 500 airports around the world with runways between 800 and 1,000 meters (2,625 and 3,281 feet) long can accommodate the ATR 42-600S aircraft. The new variant of the aircraft will allow passengers to enjoy better regional connections.
What is the ATR 42-600 STOL
The new version of the ATR 42-600S announced at the Paris Air Show 2019, offers take-off and landing capabilities on runways of 800 meters or less, which is why the letter ‘S’ appears in the designation, which in short means that it is a STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) or ATR short take-off and landing version. The new 42-600S version of the aircraft will only need 800m to take off, rather than the current 1050m, assuming a dry paved runway, at sea level, at an ambient temperature of 15°C, taking 40 passengers on board for a flight of up to 400 km. ATR’s STOL will be powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127E0M engines with 1610 kW and PW127M engines with 1846 kW.
ATR’s latest variant it’s a very good idea for small airports. Aircraft will enable the opening of many new routes and also allow to perform many charters to airports where this type of aircraft could not land. The manufacturer expects to receive the type certificate in the second half of 2023, with the first delivery shortly after receiving these important documents.
ATR has a clear commercial outlook for the 42-600S. Around 1,200 turboprops with a capacity of 30 to 50 seats will need to be replaced in the coming years. With its economical performance and operational flexibility, the ATR 42-600S is ideally suited to this requirement. As the manufacturer points out, in addition to its performance on short runways, the aircraft offers 50 seats at the same operating costs as 30-seat aircraft. To date, ATR has recorded 20 commitments from airlines and lessors for the aircraft.