Kestrel Aircraft selected a Cox and Company electrical-mechanical expulsion deicing system for its single-turboprop aircraft, part of a series of refinements that the company is making as it works toward finalizing a design. Alan Klapmeier, the former Cirrus Aircraft founder who is developing the Kestrel, says use of the electrical-mechanical deicing system will provide a smooth leading edge surface to lower drag and reduce fuel consumption.

The selection of the system is one of a number of design changes that Kestrel continues to make as the six-eight seat composite aircraft slowly takes shape, says Klapmeier, who updated the status of the program during this week’s National Business Aviation Association Annual Meeting and Convention. These changes include straightening the wing so it sweeps further forward and increasing the size of the tail. The airframe design changes improve the aerodynamics, he says, adding the former tail design did not “have the yaw stability that our customers would like to have.”

The company selected the Honeywell TPE331-GR14 engine in place of the Pratt & Whitney turboprop. Kestrel opted for the Honeywell because the company “was willing to step up” and partner more closely on the project, Klapmeier says.

Klapmeier, who had success in building Cirrus into one of the largest general aviation piston manufacturers – one of the few successful airframer startups in recent decades, still does not have a definitive timeline for bringing the aircraft to market, estimating it will take about three years. But he hesitates to reveal specific targets, saying development and certification schedules are rarely met by most manufacturers.

The company also is still lining up financing for the aircraft, in line with Klapmeier’s philosophy that the company raises the funding as needed for the particular stage of development. He points to other start-up ventures that absorbed large amounts of funding but never got off the ground and resulted in major losses to the investors.