Indonesia’s principal aircraft manufacturer, PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), continues to edge closer to Indonesian certification of its 19-seat N219 multi-purpose utility turboprop after its second porotype completed its fourth test flight on March 28. PTDI director of production Arie Wibowo told AIN the aircraft took off from Husein Sastranegara International Airport in Bandung, West Java and flew for approximately two hours before landing smoothly.
PTDI uses two N219 prototypes for its flight-test program; another two serve as full-scale static and fatigue structural test articles. Widobo said the company hopes to gain Indonesian certification for the turboprop by the end of the year.
Designed for a cruise speed of 190 knots and a stall speed of 59 knots, the N219 features a Garmin G1000 avionics suite and two 850-shp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42 engines driving Hartzell four-blade propellers. Uses include passenger and cargo services, troop transport, military surveillance, search and rescue, as well as medevac operations in remote regions with short, rugged airstrips. Priced at between $5.8 million and $6 million, the N219 sells for a slightly lower price than its main competitor, the Viking DHC-6 Twin Otter.
“The N219 aircraft answers the needs of Indonesia, particularly in the East as well as other remote locations in Southeast Asia,” Widobo told AIN. “With a competitive price tag, it is the right alternative compared to similar aircraft on the market.”
PTDI has secured two launch customers—the government of Aceh in North Sumatra and the government of Papua in Indonesia’s easternmost province—and has amassed letters of intent (LoI) covering 120 aircraft. LoI signees include PT Avistar Mandiri, Lion Air, Trigana Air Service, Nusantara Buana Air, Pelita Air, Air Born, and the government of Thailand. Madagascar, Congo, Senegal, and Norway have also signaled interest due to the aircraft’s STOL abilities.
As PTDI edges toward Indonesian certification, plans call for production to increase modestly from six aircraft in 2019 to 16 in 2020 and 36 units each year thereafter. Once the aircraft achieves certification, PTDI plans to build a new facility to increase the company’s production capacity. The new plant, estimated to cost $119 million, will produce an N219 military aircraft and possibly an amphibian version.
For now, PTDI is exploring a broad range of funding options for its facility, including raising capital in the form of a real estate investment fund.