Test flying of Sherpa‘s new K650 Honeywell -5 powered Turbine has brought excitement to the company’s Scappoose, Oregon, headquarters, according to company officials.
The Turbine Sherpa, which has evolved through three “metamorphic changes,” is the model the company now is offering for sale. The original Sherpa was a 5-place version introduced at EAA Oshkosh by Byron Root and Glen Gordon in 1994. Since that time, seating has been upgraded to an 8-place configuration and the gross weight increased to 5500 pounds. The Lycoming IO720 400hp non-turbo engine used in the original version was upgraded to a 450hp twin turbo. Although that version “performed amazingly, the numbers were still not enough to satisfy the owners of the company,” an announcement of the Turbine test flights said.
The Sherpa Turbine has a gross weight of 6,500 lbs. and a useful load calculated at 3,000 lbs., the company states. It is powered by a Honeywell -5 engine producing about 740 shaft horsepower. The geared turbine engine “is perfect for Sherpa operations because it offers instant power without delay when working in short field situations,” the company claims. The output at 1,591 rpm makes a 116 inch, three blade Hartzel propeller “that produces amazing static thrust” possible.
Preliminary performance figures are “truly amazing,” according to test pilot Pat Warren. Takeoffs and landings at 5,500 lbs gross weight and zero wind can be accomplished in a distance of 100 ft. with little effort, he said. Sherpa’s climb performance “is really incredible, having just performed a climb from sea level to 16,000ft in 11 minutes.”
Initial air speed calculations indicate speed in the economy cruise power setting to be 182 mph at 16,000 feet altitude with a fuel burn of 42 gallons per hour, Warren reported. Slow flight characteristics include the ability to “fly at 60 mph with 20° flaps, maintain directional control with feet on the floor, with a miserly fuel burn of 30 gallon per hour,” he added. Stick control pressures for all flight configurations run from light to moderate, he said.
Sherpa said it plans to build 12 of the K650-powered aircraft in the first production run, to be offered in kit form under a builder assist program at the Oregon facility under amateur-built experimental licensing. Construction time for the kit assembly is expected to be about nine months from start to finish, promotion material states.
Base price for the Sherpa with a zero time, remanufactured 5,400-hour TBO Honeywell -5 engine, ready to fly, is $850,000.00.
For information: www.Sherpaaircraft.com