Aircraft Manufacturer Targets Training Market For Fast Two-Seater
Quebec-based aircraft manufacturer, Ultravia Aero International Inc., has formalized its intention to type-certificate its first aircraft, the Pelican 2-100 Tutor. Based on 15 years of development of its successful line of Pelican sportplanes, the company will target the large and growing international market for affordable training aircraft. Transport Canada certification of the Tutor in the normal and utility categories is expected by early summer of 1999, with US FAA approval to follow, under the joint airworthiness agreement between the two countries.
Ultravia president, Jean-Rene Lepage, says his company is very well
positioned to become a major player in the two-seat trainer market. "First,
we have more than 400 kit-built airplanes flying worldwide, so we know
how to build rugged, efficient, solid machines," Lepage notes. "The certificated
airplane evolved from these designs, which are fast and responsive, yet
easy to fly. Second, we have done most of the preparatory certification
work already, and we know it can pass
the tests easily." The Tutor will be powered by the certificated version of the 100 hp Bombardier Rotax 912S horizontally-opposed four cylinder aircraft engine.
The company's market studies indicate an immediate demand in North America
alone for more than 2,000 aircraft. Elsewhere in the world, the
very high cost of flying and flight training demands that the fleet be very efficient to operate, and capable of operating in IFR conditions. Lepage
adds, "There are few, if any, other airplanes that can match the Tutor in these categories. Our design philosophy is based on building in strength
using the most appropriate materials available.
"Our fuselage is built from composites, while the wings and empennage
are all aluminum. It's a proven combination which allows IFR
certification, while keeping the manufacturing costs to a level where customers can afford the Tutor in their training fleets," he added. The
Pelican Tutor is priced at $ US 69,995. VFR or IFR avionics will be offered as optional packages. Lepage says the low acquisition cost, plus
operating costs up to 40 per cent lower than older two-seat trainers or new-production allcomposite airplanes, place the Tutor alone in its
The market for trainers is split between two- and four-seat platforms.
While the four-seat market is active, primarily due to a growing shortage
twoseaters, these remain the most cost-effective method to gain a private or commercial license. With most of the current training fleet more
than 20 years old, flight schools are increasingly pressured by students in the ab-inifio market to supply modern equipment in which to train.
Ultravia is planning initial output of four certificated Tutors per
month, increasing as marketing and sales efforts dictate. A new head office
facility, in Gatineau, Quebec, just outside Ottawa, Ont., opened in July, and is slated to become the company's center for R&D, fabrication,
aircraft assembly and product support. Composite structures and components will continue to be fabricated in the original factory in Mascouche,
Quebec, near Montreal.