This summer’s AirVenture was a surprising success for Sherpa Aircraft Co., according to Glen Gordon, president. An unexpectedly large turnout of individuals from countries all over the world swarmed Sherpa’s display every day for the seven-day show, checking out the new 840-horse Honeywell turbine-powered Sherpa for the first time.
Many of those at the exhibit watched a 31-minute video showing the Sherpa at work.
Features include a 3,000-lbs. payload, takeoff and landing distances ranging from 100 feet to 250 feet depending on the pay load, and a fuel capacity of 346 gallons, according to Gordon, adding it has the ability to cruise at more than 200 mph and still land normally under 40 mph.
“It is commonly assumed by most visitors that the big Sherpa bush plane was built strictly for use in Alaska,” Gordon said. “While use in Alaska is obvious, nothing could be farther from the truth, as was evidenced by the many visitors from foreign countries who visualized a variety of applications for their particular situation. Officials from Columbia and Peru saw it as a wonderful surveillance tool for high mountain activities. Members from different military forces saw it as a great low cost machine for carrying supplies into remote areas. The same was true for life flight support service companies and missionary organizations that need to work in off-airport environment conditions. Others saw the eight place advantage as a tour bus and lodge support vehicle.”
One of the company’s first orders involves a “very sophisticated” avionics upgrade that will include an IFR package containing a combination of Cobham’s Chelton HIWAS (highway in the sky) and TWAS B and added components from the Bendix King’s new avionics product line, Gordon noted. Also to be installed is CAV Aerospace’s Weeping wing TKS icing system, A FLIR night vision surveillance system and RADAR.
Although many spectators at this summer’s Oshkosh saw the Sherpa for the first time, the timetable for development of the model has spanned more than 23 years.
Oshkosh visitors in 1994 first saw a Sherpa as a five-place taildragger powered by a Lycoming IO-720 400-hp engine. Five years later the Sherpa expanded into an eight-place version that saw an increase in gross weight and horsepower with the use of a twin turbo TIO-720 474-hp Lycoming engine. As the company tried to make this combination work for the next six years, it was finally determined that the power was simply not enough to produce the STOL performance company officials were after. Once again the aircraft underwent a complete redesign and was introduced and shown last year with an 840-hp Honeywell turbine engine.
“Prior to this year’s Oshkosh, the company had taken the position that the first dozen aircraft would be produced exclusively under a quick built kit experimental program,” Gordon said. “As it turned out, there was so much interest expressed from commercial users that need certified aircraft, the company has decided to expedite the undertaking of the Part 23 FAA approval.”
The experimental version is being sold as a quick built kit at prices ranging from $750,000 to $845,000, depending on the engine selection and extra optional package. Preliminary cost estimates for the certified model range from $1 million to $1.2 million, depending on engine selection and equipment.
For more information: 503-543-4004 or SherpaAircraft.com.