By: Sahrudin – email@example.com
“I WILL be leaving for the United States soon. I want Pak Agung to send me the R80 model aircraft. I am going to give a presentation on that at Washington, DC”, Indonesia’s former president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie told Agung Nugroho, President Director of PT Regio Aviasi Industri (RAI), on a live video call from Munich, Germany, on Saturday (May 24, 2014).
In the video interview with Agung in Jakarta, Mr Habibie, who is also known as the country’s godfather of aerospace technology, says, “The R80 airplane must be successfully completed”, Republika reported.
PT RAI is an aerial company established by PT Ilthabi Rekatama and PT Eagle Capital belongs to Mr Habibie and his son, Ilham Habibie.
The company has also teamed up with PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI), and France-based software producer Dassault Systemes to design the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
On the sidelines of the launch of Mr Habibie’s book Tak Boleh Lelah dan Kalah (literally, Must not be Tired and Defeated) in Jakarta, Tuesday (April 1st, 2014), he had already explained that the 80-seat turboprop R80 was expected to make its first flight in 2017.
“The aircraft will be more sophisticated than its predecessor, the N250“, he said, adding that the letter “R” in the R80 stands for Regional.
PT RAI plans to build 400 units of the turboprops within period of 20 years, responding to the needs of flights between Indonesia’s islands, and considering not all the country’s airports are able to accommodate large turbojets.
There are about 50 aerial specialists involved in the R80 designing stage, which can later be increased to about 500 to 1,000 experts in its development phase.
Despite the fact that almost all of the turboprop engine’s power is used to drive the propeller, making the engine’s exhaust gasses do not contain enough energy to create significant thrust, the R80 engine is claimed to be faster and more fuel economy.
It’s also been said that the R80 will provide efficient power with bypass ratios of 40, comparing to the Airbus or the Boeing with bypass ratios of 12.
A higher bypass ratio provides a lower thrust specific fuel consumption, Mr Habibie said.
Although the turboprop is still in the design stage, but there have been several companies that are interested in this project.
Indonesia’s third-largest carrier, Sriwijaya Air, had ordered 100 units of R80 for its subsidiary NAM Air, and Kal Star Aviation, a company of 95 domestic routes and 22 regional routes flights, had applied for 25 units.***