Indonesia's 19-seater n219 aircraft which marked its first flight yesterday will spawn an amphibious version to serve smal islands in the country.
Indonesian National Aviation and Outerspace Institute (Lapan) hailed the success of the test flight of its N219, made and designed in cooperation with PT Dirgantara Indonesia, Antara News reported on Wednesday.
"With the success of the first flight of N219, we can now declare that today was the second awakening of technology (following the success of N250)," Lapan head, Thomas Djamaluddin, stated at a press conference.
"We started the big project in 2014. At that time, we planned to make four N219s for flight and land tests," he added.
He revealed that Lapan also plans to develop N219 later into an amphibious plane to enable landing on a small island.
We wish to use the plane to serve small islands to improve their connectivity. We will develop the amphibious version of the aircraft to enable it to land on the beach on islands that have no airstrip," he explained.
Indonesia is an archipelago with around 17 thousand islands spread across the country.
At around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, or a day before the countrys Independence anniversary, he personally witnessed the test flight of the aircraft at Bandungs Husein Sastranegara airport in West Java.
Thomas remarked that the construction of the aircraft was fully done by Indonesian technicians.
PT DI president director Budi Santoso explained that the plane was the third of four N219 planes being developed by the company. Two planes, he said, would undergo test runs while two were prototypes.
“We need 300 hours of flight. Today's test was only 30 minutes. We hope that the airplanes will be able to connect people in remote areas,” Budi said, adding that the plane was a gift for Indonesia’s 72nd Independence Day on Thursday.
The project, he said, cost US$62 million. “We still need additional funds of Rp 200 billion ($14.95 million) to put the plane into production.”