Len and Les Alford of Jabiru Aircraft Southern Africa suggested there was a market for a twin engine Jabiru in Africa. Parts of Africa are best flown over at a great height as the prevalence of wild animals and AK47’s tends to make you nervous about outfield landings and the comfort of two engines is hard to replace.
Len and Les completely build the Jabiru Aircraft under licence and service the whole of Southern Africa. The project was always intended to be a joint development and aimed at the South African market.
The complexity generated by hanging the engines off the wings. This would have meant going back to basics on wing structure and all the difficulties of fire proofing the wings etc. Another physical difficulty was the engine pods completely obstructed the entry and exit points to the cabin. The idea came of mounting the engines on a short canard mounted on the firewall. The propellers were quite close together to reduce the amount of asymmetric thrust on one engine.
At Jabiru Aircraft Australia, John Farmer made a streamlined nose for a J430 and the two engine pods. Engineer Tom Ferguson was given the task of testing the supporting structure for the engines. This took quite a while to get a structure light enough and strong enough to meet the FAR Part 23 standards. As usual most of the structure was built in composite with aluminium connections to the engines.
The firewall structure of the J430 is unchanged and the nose wheel stays where it is. This is a relatively simple bolt on modification.
When the structure was finished and the moulds were complete the project was shipped to South Africa where Len had to fit all this to a new aircraft and finish all the details to make it into a flying aircraft.
Len had the task to bring this raw prototype to a production item and to negotiate with the South African CAA on its terms of release to the public.
The conversion could be offered as a kit to be fitted to an existing experimental J430.