The last quarter has seen significant activity in our technical program as well as increased interest from our TurbAero Community. Specifically, our engineers were able to prototype and test the latest version of our recuperator during late 2020. This was a significant milestone for us as it was an opportunity to assess the actual performance of this important component of our engine.
This testing identified some issues and difficulties around the manufacturing technique for the recuperator, as well as design issues that affected the performance of this version of the recuperator. However, our engineers learned some valuable lessons and were able to determine the correlation between theoretical and practical results for recuperator behaviour and performance that can be applied to the design process moving ahead. I am pleased to say that the redesign of the recuperator to be fitted to our prototype engine has now been completed.
We also undertook testing of some fuel system components with positive results being achieved. The results of these testing activities are discussed in more detail later in the newsletter. The very good news is that we are now able to complete the “whole engine” design and undertake the whole engine analysis where all individual components and assemblies are integrated, and the engine design is assessed as a complete unit from intake to propellor flange.
I would like to stress that our entire program is an extremely technical and complicated one. The propensity for problems occurring along the way is high. The important thing for us is that we do it right. It is imperative for us that the product that we deliver is safe, reliable, meets the expectations of the owner and that the product and our service is of the highest standard, from the point of initial enquiry all the way through to the end of the engine’s service life.
In line with this philosophy to do it right, we have made the decision to enhance the analytical element of our design program. This, combined with the impact of COVID-19 and the technical and manufacturing challenges that we have faced and have overcome, means that we now expect to have the prototype engine on the test stand in early-2022. While it is disappointing for us that the timeline has moved to the right, we are confident that the product we ultimately deliver will be one that the customer is pleased and proud to own.
I would like to address two of the recurring questions being asked of us through our website enquiry form. These are:
- What will the cost of the engine be?
- What is the timeframe for deliveries?
In relation to the price of the engine, over the next six months, we anticipate finalising our supply chain meaning that we should be able to provide a fairly accurate indicative price for the engine in Q3 or Q4 of this year. After reassessing the timeline to complete the remaining tasks associated with the development program, we now estimate that first customer deliveries will be in Q1 2023.
While this represents our current estimate for deliveries, there is the possibility that we could improve on it, but equally, there is the risk that it may not be achieved. However, shortly our customers will have more visibility on the progress in these areas through our increased communication activities planned in the coming months. We continue to welcome enquiries about our engines via our website and endeavour to respond to our customers and their individual enquiries as quickly as possible.
Finally, I would like to thank our TurbAero community for their interest in, and support of, our program. We have been pleased to see significantly increased engagement during the last quarter. We are receiving many enquiries about our engines and indeed our whole program via our website. As such we recognise that we need to get more information out to our customers. It has always been our intention to “fly under the radar” as much as possible until we had hardware that we could demonstrate. As has been seen with some programs that have come before us, there have been instances where individuals or companies have promised a remarkable product then failed to deliver as promised, leaving their customers disappointed or even financially disadvantaged. We do not want to be one of those companies.
Through word of mouth in particular, as well as through our community members searching for us online, it is apparent that a great deal of interest has been generated in what we are doing. It is becoming clear that we can no longer maintain a low profile. Consequently, commencing the second quarter of 2021, we intend to communicate more information about our progress to those that are interested in following us along our journey.
Rest assured that our team is working hard and we remain committed to our mission to deliver a family of top-quality sub-300hp turboprop engines.
I would like to thank each member of our TurbAero community for your continued support.
As always, safe flying.
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