Kestrel Aircraft K-350 / JP10 / JP100
Farnborough Aircraft F1
The Kestrel JP10, Kestral K-350, or Kestral is a high-performance single turboprop-engined all-composite six-seat aircraft. Its layout is low-wing with tailplanes mid-set on a single fin. The tricycle undercarriage is fully retractable. Its construction uses composites incorporating carbon fibre. The wing is also of carbon-fibre construction and features a high lift laminar flow design worked out mostly by aerodynamicist Dr. Gordon Robinson.
The cabin features a pressurized area.
Farnborough Aircraft formed a business alliance with Epic Aircraft to develop both companies aircraft and as a result the JP10 appears similar to the Epic LT. The wing is reportedly the same, while the Kestrel’s fuselage is 20 inches longer than the Epic’s.
The company formed in 2002 to build the aircraft was started by Richard Noble who was responsible for the team that first broke the sound barrier on land. Noble envisioned the aircraft's primary role as being part of the fleet of “air taxis” flying over Europe that provide an alternative to both commercial airlines and chartered corporate jets. Noble named his Farnborough, England based company “Farnborough Aircraft” and the design for the then designated “F1” was detailed.
The name of the company has since been changed to Kestrel Aircraft Company and the aircraft’s designation was changed from “F1” to “JP100” and is now the “JP10”.
A business partnership formed to complete the Kestrel’s development named the Gulf Aircraft Partnership and located in the UAE did not proceed. Alan Klapmeier, co-founder of Cirrus Aircraft Corporation, has joined with Anthony Galley and others in the renamed Kestrel Aircraft Company. A business relationship has been formed with Liberty Aerospace of Melbourne, Florida, United States to provide assistance with Toray carbon fiber components.
Kestrel Aircraft’s Adrian Norris reported that the company was ready to freeze the design and build conformal prototypes in efforts to seek part-23 certification. On 23 July 2010 Kestrel Aircraft announced that they would be relocating to large, relatively newly built hangars at the soon to be closed Brunswick Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine. The company was to receive some local financial assistance in exchange for an anticipated eventual creation of some 300 jobs.
The prototype first flew on 29 July 2006. The engine that has been powering the prototype is a Pratt & Whitney PT6-67A turboprop flat rated to 1,000 hp (746 kW). As of April 2010, the prototype, registered N352F, had logged about 260 hours.
In 2011 the company selected the Honeywell TPE331-14GR engine as first choice for the aircraft, also flat rated to 1,000 hp (746 kW).
On January 17, 2012, it was announced that the aircraft will be produced in Wisconsin due to tax incentives totalling US$50 million.
In July 2013 Kestrel CEO Alan Klapmeier stated that funding delays had slowed progress on the aircraft and that a conforming prototype was now expected to be ready in the summer of 2014, with the first customer delivery forecast for the end of 2015 or early 2016. Certification costs were estimated at US$175M, with US$50M already spent.
By September 2013 employees were reporting that the company was short of money and that salaries and insurance payments were missing or late, and that vendors had not been paid. The company indicated that development had been delayed due to lack of investment and that the first flight of a production aircraft would not occur in 2014.
In early 2014 it was reported that Kestrel Aircraft had fallen months behind on loan payments to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation due to financing delays. It was also reported that the delay in financing had impacted hiring, causing the company to reduce its staff in Superior. The WEDC and Kestrel have agreed upon new terms that will defer the payments until November 2014.