Move over Cessna. Dallas-based IndUS Aviation is moving the production of its T-211 Thorpedo from the Lone Star State to China.
Dr. Ram Pattisapu, IndUS CEO, revealed at AirVenture that the company had signed a deal with the Chinese government and private investors to build the two-place Thorpedo in Weinan Municipality, Shaanxi Provence, China. The venture will result in the creation of a new company, IndUS-IPI (the IPI comes from IPI Information Technology, a Chinese company that is a private investor in the project).
The Thorpedo is a Light Sport Aircraft based on a 1946 design by John Thorp that features a low wing with a sliding canopy. Many people describe it as a cross between a World War II-era trainer and a Piper Cherokee because of its Hershey Bar style wings.
Although airline companies have had production facilities in China for many years, IndUS is just the second general aviation manufacturer to set up shop there. Cessna, of course, was the first with the production facility for its LSA, the Skycatcher.
According to Pattisapu, China is under-served when it comes to private aircraft. There are less than 1,000 GA aircraft in China at this time, and IndUS plans to help grow that developing market, he said.
According to the new agreement, IndUS will be responsible for all research and development. Modifications and technical updates will be done in Dallas, with the requisite FAA and international aviation agency approvals.
The Weinan Municipality is located in the LuYangHu General Aviation Development Zone, a 48-acre area created by the Chinese to foster the development of light aircraft. The region caters to those employed in the aircraft industry.
The initial production facility will be 20,000 square feet and will turn out eight to10 aircraft a month. The avionics and engine packages will depend in large on where the aircraft will be flown, according to Pattisapu.
“We will focus on building primary entry level aircraft in large numbers to meet the expected demand for such aircraft in India and China,” he said. “With our new Chinese partners, we will develop the LSA market in Asia, and continue to oversee final assembly of Thorpedos in Dallas to support sales in North America.”
Production is expected to begin in China by late fall.
“The Thorpedo is fairly simple to build,” Pattisapu continued. “It does not require specialized jigs or fixtures, which enables us to quickly develop production capacity of up to and beyond 100 Thorpedos annually with our Chinese partners.”
For more information: IndUSAv.com.