Dan Webster, CEO of the company in charge of bringing the Grumman G-111T Albatross into the 21st century, has said he “won’t’ stop” just at the first remodelled variant, and is ready to future-proof the next-generation flying boat.
Amphibian Aerospace Industries revealed in December that it was taking on the task of building the new generation of Albatross, including updated digital avionics and enhanced engines from Pratt & Whitney, and opening a new manufacturing hub in Darwin.
AAI plans to have the aircraft CASA-certified within 18 months and begin production by 2025.
“We are not going to stop at just the variant that we’re working on now,” Webster told Australian Aviation.
“Our plan is to have a fully electric version of Albatross within 10 years. Some will say that’s ambitious, but that’s something that we’re really keen to achieve,” he said.
“Given that the aircraft serves these smaller islands that are impacted by climate change, [and] given the rise in eco-tourism, having something that doesn’t require fuel, and doesn’t require propellers in the water, an electric Albatross is perfect for those more sensitive areas.”
Webster said AAI was “also investigating other models” of Albatross that could be explored in the future, such as expanding the aircraft to cater to more customers.
“One concept we’re looking at is a stretched-out version with 44 seats,” he said.
“Capacity is a huge issue for a lot of the operators that we’re looking to serve and in a lot of the markets we’re looking to serve, so it would be incredible for us to increase capacity.
“There are plenty of other options and ideas out there too, just about everyone who has contacted us to date has thrown a new idea for the aircraft into the ring.
“The key thing is, we’re setting up an aircraft manufacturing company, and that doesn’t stop with one variant of one aircraft. We fully intend to evolve and grow in the long-term.”
Read more of our conversation with Dan Webster, CEO of Amphibian Aerospace Industries, in the latest edition of the Australian Aviation magazine, or online here.