The Airplane Factory, the innovative and forward-thinking South African aircraft manufacturing company based at Tedderfield Airpark, Johannesburg has announced its entry into the big league of commercial aviation to rival other major commercial airlines.
The aircraft, called a CATAPULT (short for CAntilevered Transport Aircraft Powered by Ultra Long-distance Turbines) is futuristic in its design and is a generation ahead of its time. This name follows the tradition by the Airplane Factory of its SLING range of light sports aircraft, which has proven to be highly successful in over 19 countries thus far.
In a hush-hush project over a grueling 3-year period, The Airplane Factory has designed, built and test flown, a complete cargo wide body aircraft, powered by 4 massive electrically powered engines, which were also designed for the project by The Airplane Factory Research and Development team at manufacturing facilities specially set up at the Bisho Airport in the Eastern Cape.
Said Andrew Pitman, CEO of The Air Plane Factory, “Naturally, it has been really difficult to keep this project under wraps and our factory staff and suppliers were sworn to secrecy. We did most of our work at night in order to minimize any possible news leaks. We are really excited about the project which is set to take cargo travel to a new level, with the operating costs reduced by half compared to that of conventional aircraft.”
At a price tag of US$20 million, which was funded by South African and Asian investors, it is a low-cost aircraft which is fitted with the state-of-the-art electronics and navigational equipment.
Pitman goes on “The first production plane will be put into service in July 2019 and talks are already underway with major airlines and governments and who are expected to take 13 of these aircraft in the first year of production. We have already increased our production capacity through the addition of a large 100,000 m2 factory at the
Further details on this exciting project will be available shortly.