Norway's Aeriton MT13MPA

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Aeriton Aircraft MT13MPA

The Aeriton MT13MPA was an early-2000s Norwegian all-composite light general-purpose transport project. The project initiator was Johannes Wårseth-Junge (joined by Pål Arne Reinhardsen in 2004). Some caché was gained when the pair were joined by Einar Hareide, head of Hareide Designmill AS but also former design director at Saab. That probably sounded more impressive in the aviation world than it really was. Hareide was a designer for Saab Automobile not Saab Aeronautics. (Einar Hareide has a wide range of design experience, but other than Aeriton, I can find no mention of other aviation experience.)

The MT13MPA concept was for a mid-range turboprop STOL aircraft with quick-change (about 15 minutes) mission features for transport, passenger (9 + 2 crew), or ambulance. The latter was aimed at Lufttransport AS of Tromsø, Norway's largest air ambulance operator which showed interest in 2005. Aeriton Aircraft regarded their MT13MPA as a potential rival for the Beech King Air. The Aeriton STOL was to have a cruising speed of 350 knots (versus 312 ktas for the King Air).

This superior performance would be attained through the use of all-composite construction keeping weight down to under 5,700 kg (claimed to be 40% lower than the King Air's 4,516 kg). [1] The carbon fibre structure was to be produced by Devold AMT AS (then part of Hexagon Composites) of Langevåg, Norway.

Wårseth-Junge claimed that carbon fiber was 60% stronger than aluminum. Use of triaxial fiber-reinforced composites would also reduce the number of fabric layers required for a given strength. The fuselage was to be cast in two parts with a moulding time of about four hours. Wårseth-Junge contrasted a composite structure pulled in one day versus 15 days to put together an aluminum aircraft structure of comparable size.

In 2005, Aeriton Aircraft AS was registered as a limited company. In the same year, Aeriton entered into a collaboration with Østfold Innovasjon AS. The Aeriton MT13MPA was to be powered with twin "Pratt & Whitney CA" engines ... one presumed PT6As from the artwork (athough the exhaust looks a little funky). Avionics were to be by Rockwell Collins. Saab Aerostructures would do the structural testing (and an agreement between Saab and Aeriton seems to have been signed). In the MT13 MPA designation, MPA stood for 'Multi Purpose Aircraft' but I've no idea what the MT13 stood for.

According to no.wikipedia.org, Aeriton displayed a full-scale mock-up of the MT13MPA at EBACE 2006 (the European Business Aircraft Convention & Exhibition) in Geneva, 03-07 May 2006. I can find no confirmation of that display. All online mentions of both Aeriton and EBACE come from Norway and have a 'forward-looking statement' feel about them.

A single Aeriton MT13 MPA was expected to cost NOK 35-40 million (US $4.2-4.8 million, assuming 1 Norwegian Krone = 0.12 US Dollars). Production was to be undertaken at Sola/Stavanger. Early estimates were for a prototype by 2005, with production aircraft first shipped in 2007-2008. By 2005, a revised delivery-start was 2010. In 2008, the delivery date was pushed out until 2013.

None of this ever happened. On 08 Oct 2015, RA Dagsavisen reported that Aeriton Aircraft AS had filed for bankruptcy in the Stavanger District Court. (http://www.aeriton.com/ now leads to a Chinese language Wordpress page.) I'm not sure what went awry. Probably a combination of overestimating the market and general lack of experience. Still, a promising-looking project that probably deserved a better fate.

[1] I'm not sure exactly what Aeriton were measuring. King Air 350 MTOW is actually 7,484 kg. 40% less would 4,490 kg so the Aeriton would be closer to 25% lighter not 40%.
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Sources

https://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeriton_Aircraft
http://www.dagsavisen.no/rogalandsavis/aeriton-aircraft-as-er-konkurs-1.498041
http://forum.hegnar.no/thread.asp?id=2088456
http://www.sa.no/lokale-nyheter/vil-produsere-fly/s/1-101-1502062
http://www.tu.no/artikler/norsk-flydrom/326480 -- 10 Dec 2004
https://www.nrk.no/okonomi/norsk-smafly-pa-vei-mot-skyene-1.559985
http://widget-list.herokuapp.com/?template=section-list&source=/article-list/bench/sa/section/lokalt?onBehalfOf=sa&limit=6

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