The UV-23 Scout, a high-wing aircraft, has a 14,000-lb. maximum gross weight and is powered by two turbocharged Thunder TE495-TC700 liquid-cooled V-8 engines rated at 700 shp. each. High-lift wings and leading-edge wing slats will give it short-takeoff-and-landing (STOL) performance. The Scout is designed to transport 12-15 troops, and has a service ceiling of 28,000 ft. and a useful load of 5,000 lb.
The first prototype of the Skytrader 800 was started in 1972 and flown by Dominion Aircraft, Ltd., of Renton, Washington in 1975. The initial version of the 18-passenger aircraft was powered by two Avco Lycoming piston engines. On 21 April 1975 The Dominion Skytrader 800 took to the air on its initial test flight from Renton. This unique 12-seat, high-wing general-purpose aircraft had STOL capabilities and could be fitted quickly for all freight operations. Two 400-hp Lycoming IO-720-B1A eight-cylinder engines gave the aircraft a top speed of 210 mph. The aircraft could take off in only 390 ft and has a stall speed of just 60 mph.
The Skytrader prototype was designed and built in the mid-1970s by a group of aircraft engineers who had been laid off by Boeing Corp. Their project stalled in 1979 after the failure of the bank that had pledged financing for production.
In 1980, investor and engine designer Grant MacCoon bought the prototype aircraft and its production rights out of bankruptcy court.
The Skytrader 800 aircraft program was acquired in 1983 by John J. Dupont as the president and chief executive officer of the new company, Skytrader Aircraft Corp. In September 1984 , Superior Energy Corp., a publicly owned company controlled by Dupont and Skytrader executive vice president, James F. Hudson, acquired Skytrader Aircraft. The new firm, Skytrader Corp., was a merger of the two companies and was responsible for development, production and marketing of the Skytrader ST1700. The company expected to market the commuter and cargo aircraft in both the U.S. and international markets at a price of approximately $1.3 million.
The revised version of the Skytrader 800 was powered by two Pratt & Whitney of Canada PT6A-42 turboprop engines, rated at 850 shp. each. The ST1700 also incorporated numerous changes from the piston-powered version. The STI7OO's cabin area is 18 in. longer and 4 in. wider than that of the 800 version. The maximum takeoff weight for the STI7OO has been increased to 13,000 lb. from the 12,500 lb. of the earlier aircraft. Other external changes to the ST1700 include a T-tail, a stretched and drooped nose for increased visibility, a twisted tapered wing, a redesigned landing gear with dual wheels and overhead cockpit windows.
The newest version of the Skytrader had a 23.2-ft.-long cabin, which is convertible for either passenger or cargo use. It can carry 18 passengers or six D-type cargo containers. Access to the cabin was through an 8-ft.-long, hydraulically operated rear loading ramp door, a 54 X 55-in. sideloading cargo door and a forward air-stair door. The cargo volume of the cabin is 635 cu. ft. The empty weight of the ST1700 in the cargo configuration was 7,050 lb., and useful load of the unpressurized aircraft in the same configuration was 6,300 lb. Fuel capacity is 480 gal. for the aircraft. The maximum cruise speed of the ST1700 at 10,000 ft. is 195 kt., and with an 18-passenger load the aircraft is capable of an 805 nautmi. range. The maximum range of the aircraft is planned for 1,100 naut. mi. Takeoff ground roll of the ST1700 at a gross weight of 13,000 lb. is expected to be 845 ft. to clear a 50-ft. obstacle. The landing distance to clear the same obstacle is 875 ft.
In 1987 it was reported that Mitsui Ocean Development and General Technologies of Japan would provide $ 20.5 million for initial production of Skytrader Corp.'s Scout military aircraft, as well as Federal Aviation Administration certification of a larger, commercial version. The Mitsui funding never materialized.
By 1987 nearly 1,000 people had invested in Skytrader, via the company's penny stocks and a private investor's group -- and some of them said they were betrayed by DuPont and his company. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised. Plans for factories have been announced, then dropped. Pending military contracts have been announced, but they had yet to materialize.
In 1988 it was reported that Skytrader Corp. has secured agreements with the Philippine government and Samsung Aerospace Industries of South Korea that could lead to coproduction of the company's Scout utility STOL aircraft. A $ 167-million acquisition and coproduction program with the Philippines' Air Force was contingent on the outcome of discussions between the U. S. and the Philippines over compensation for US military bases located in the country. The program had gained congressional support through the efforts of Rep. Dave McCurdy (D.-Okla.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
In June 1989 Skytrader announced that it had teamed with McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. to supply the UV-23 for the Army's competitive Grisly-Hunter aircraft program to supply day/night intelligence gathering and reconnaissance capability for the U.S. Military Intelligence Community. Through use of "blown wings" and the Coanda effect, the aircraft possessed an infrared suppression ratio of 20-to-1, which is excellent. Moreover, by changing the aircraft's gear box to reduce engine rpms and increasing the size of the turbo-prop by one foot, Skytrader was able to achieve a noise signature that is "20-to-30 percent below" other aircraft types. Both IR suppression and noise reduction are key capabilities for intelligence missions.
The company filed for Chapter 11 protection on 11 April 1989 to block MacCoon from repossessing the plane he had sold to Skytrader in 1984. A US Bankruptcy Court judge gave Skytrader Corp. until 24 May 1989 to pay off a $1.2 million debt or surrender its prototype aircraft and technical information to a California creditor. In August 1989 Skytrader Corp. was ordered liquidated by a federal bankruptcy judge.
The Dominion UV-23 Scout (Dominion SKYTRADER 800, reg #N800ST) most recently seen in November 2003 sitting on the ramp, minus it's engines, at Top Flight Airpark (former Fairchild plant) at the Washington County Regional Airport in Hagerstown MD. California Microwave, which does something with DeHavilland Dash-7's, must have it there for some reason.
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