Emmen, Switzerland, based RUAG Aviation is putting new life into the Dornier 228. The company confirmed it will restart a low-rate serial production of the capable commuter and surveillance plane in mid-2016.
Starting with four aircraft per year, RUAG hopes to increase that number when demand grows with it. “Assembly of the fuselage has already begun, and the wing panels are currently in the forming process. The final assembly line has also been set up in Munich-Oberpfaffenhofen as part of the ongoing preparations to get the facility ready for the start of serial production,” the company writes in a statement.
Building on the heritage of the company founded by Claude Dornier which lasted from 1914 to 1998, RUAG first restarted the production of the Dornier 228 in 2009 together with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The Indian company has been producing the Do-228 under license since 1983 and manufactures the major parts of the aircraft. RUAG puts it all together at the old Dornier company location in Oberpfaffenhofen and adds additional equipment the customer wishes.
The RUAG New Generation version of the Do-228 has a new five-blade propeller, a so-called glass cockpit and improved performance such as a longer range. It has a large cargo door, making handling of cargo up to 4,410 lb (2,000 kg) easier. It’s normal take-off distance is only 2,600 feet (793 metres), but used with Short Take-Off and Landing procedures 1,690 feet (515 metres) will do. The landing strip needs to be at least 1,480 feet (450 metres) long. The Dornier 228 NG has a maximum cruise speed of 234 knots (433 kmh) and a typical range (74% load or 14 passengers) of 690 nautical miles (1118 km). Although it can climb about 1,800 feet per minute, with one engine only the Do-228 NG is still able to do a nice 440 feet/min climb.
RUAG Aviation co-operates with Tata Advanced Systems of India for the air frame manufacturing. Apart from being a good airplane to reach remote locations with cargo or up to 19 passengers, the Dornier 228 could be an excellent platform for surveillance duties. Able to stay up for eight hours in a row such mission has already been adopted by the Coast Guard of the Netherlands.
Source: RUAG Aviation with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image:A Do-228 of a civilian operator connecting remote areas in Venezuela (Image © RUAG)