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ATR 42-600S STOL twin turboprop completes maiden flight

With its manufacturer expected to begin the certification process next year, ATR on Wednesday completed the maiden flight of its partially configured short-takeoff and landing (STOL) ATR 42-600S twin-turboprop aircraft. The plane is expected to be able to carry up to 50 people. It completed a 2-hour, 15-minute flight from Francazal in southwestern France, with the crew conducting a series of performance tests. The company says around 500 airports around the world have a runway length between 2,625 to 3,281 feet (800-1,000 meters) that could handle the ATR 42-600S STOL variant. Next up for the aircraft, other new aspects will be tested, including the MFC-NG (Multifunctional Computer New Generation), the autobrake, the ground spoiler and increased takeoff rating systems. ATR says the plane will enter its final configuration at the end of the year with the addition of a new larger rudder, before beginning certification in 2023. ATR says it has 20 commitments thus far from airlines and lessors for the ATR 42-600S.
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