The Short Take-Off and Landing variant of the ATR 42-600 aircraft, the ATR 42-600S made its maiden flight from Francazal Airport in Toulouse, France this week.
The ATR 42-600S 30 to 50 seater turboprop aircraft is being developed so it can use runways as short as 800m (2,625ft). This will make it possible for the ATR 42-600 to use around 500 more general aviation airstrips, says ATR.
The shorter runways option makes the ATR 42-600 a suitable option for operators of smaller aircraft at many more regional airports. The French / Italian aircraft maker currently has 20 orders for the ATR 42-600S.
The ATR 42 originally entered service in 1985, with several updates to the aircraft taking place over the decades before the current -600 series was introduced in 2007. ATR plans to certify the STOL variant next year.
During the two hour and 15 minute maiden flight from Francazal Airport the crew onboard performed a number of tests to measure the upgraded aircraft systems’ performance.
The aircraft’s next phase of ground and flight testing will test a number of new functionalities, starting with the MFC-NG (Multifunctional Computer New Generation), followed by the Autobrake, Ground Spoiler, and increased take off rating systems.
The aircraft will enter its final configuration at the end of the year with the addition of a new larger rudder.