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Habibie Ready to Revive N250 Program

            After 17 years of dormant, the Indonesian-made the N250 twin-engine turboprop fly-by-wire aircraft program will be revive and to be produce by state-owned plane manufacturer PT Dirgantara Indonesia (PTDI) in cooperation with newly establish private-owned PT Regio Aviasi Industri.

            Indonesia’s third president Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie who led the state-owned plane manufacturer IPTN (now PT DI) in the past, said that he is ready to come back into the aviation development on the N250 aircraft which was 100 percent engineered by Indonesian experts.

            Habibie said, his main target was to aquire the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) license for the N250 within two years. As the first phase, he would form PT Regio Aviasi Industri, a joint venture with PT Ilhabi Rekatama, belonging to his son Ilham Akbar Habibie, and PT Eagle Capital belonging to Erry Firmansyah, Indonesian Stock Exchange former president director.

            “PT Ilhabi Rekatama will be the main shareholder. I will be the president commissioner,” said Habibie as quoted by the Jakarta Post during the commemoration of National Technology Day at Gedung Sate in Bandung, West Java August 10. Habibie added, the next day both companies has signed the agreement to form PT Regio Aviasi Industri with Ilham and Thareq, his other son holding the majority  51 pecent share, and 49 percent by Erry.

            Industri Pesawat Terbang Nusantara (IPTN) developed the first N250 code name PA-1 and named Gatotkaca, a 50 seater turbprop commuter aircraft which flew its maiden flight on August 10, 1995 in commerating Indonesia’s 50 years anniversary August 17. The second aircraft, PA-2 Krincing Wesi, N250-100 a 68 seater plane flown for the first time in December 19, 1996.

            IPTN flew the plane to Paris to participate in the Paris Airshow 1997 along with an CN-235 MPA plane. N250 was no doubt  stole attraction in the show as being the first turboprop commuter plane with fly-by-wire cockpit. Furthermore, its has a maximum speed of 330 miles per hour (610 km/hour) driven by two Allison AE 2100C engines. N520 flying range 1.480 kilometers. 

            It was the nation’s prideness, just only one step more to aquire its FAA certificate, Indonesia was hit by the economic crisis and its scheduled production was halted. It was planned N250 commercial flight by year 2000, and IPTN’s N2130 passenger jet program by 2004. (ds)