Regional turboprop aircraft manufacturer ATR has announced that its ATR 72-600, the newest member of its aircraft family, has obtained certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
A prerequisite for the aircraft’s entry into service, the certification covers the new equipment on the aircraft, and is the successful conclusion to a series of ground and flight tests conducted on the ATR 72-600 prototype. Flight testing on the aircraft began in the summer of 2009, ATR said in a statement.
The series of tests validated the proper functioning of the new systems and equipment installed on the aircraft, such as its new avionics, which include a new glass cockpit with five LCD screens, new communication, navigation, monitoring, flight management (FMS), Automatic Pilot and alert management systems, and a new MPC computer system (including aircraft maintenance and protection functions).
Filippo Bagnato, CEO of ATR, said he is “…very proud to see that the ATR 72-600 is now on the brink of entering into service and allowing airlines to discover its many advantages. Development of the new 600-series ATRs is based on our commitment to continue developing our line of aircraft in order to better meet the needs of regional airlines, in terms of operating costs as well as airworthiness and passenger comfort. The ATR ‘-600′, now the most advanced regional aircraft on the market, features new avionics, developed in partnership with Thales, which make flight management even simpler thanks to its state-of-the-art technology. It also features a new cabin, designed by Giugiaro, with new, even more comfortable seats which are also lighter-weight, and completely redesigned baggage stows offering more storage space for passengers. The new ATR ‘-600’s’ entry into service will soon open up new commercial prospects for us.”
The test campaign was mainly conducted in ATR’s headquarter town of Toulouse, France, although the aircraft also travelled to Tarbes and Agen (France), Lugano (Switzerland) and Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris. While in Tarbes and Agen, ATR was able to test proper functioning of the automatic pilot system, notably in high wind conditions. In Lugano, ATR tested the ATR 72-600 on steep landing strips (slope: 6.65°). At Charles de Gaulle Airport, ATR checked the navigation management systems (radio, SMS, GPS, RNP) in traffic conditions characteristic of a busy major airport.
Since launching the new ATR 42-600 and ATR 72-600 program in October 2007, ATR has received orders for a total of 141 aircraft in this new series.
Delivery of the first ATR 72-600s will begin soon. Royal Air Maroc, which ordered a total of four ATR 72-600s and two ATR 42-600s, will be the first operator to take delivery of an ATR 72-600.
Testing on the ATR 42-600 is currently underway, and this aircraft will benefit from its close similarity to the ATR 72-600 (fuselage, engines, avionics). Its certification is expected at the end of the year.
The ATR 72-600 is able to seat between 68 and 74 passengers.