NBAA Convention News

SyberJet Gears Up for SJ30 Production Restart

 - October 20, 2013, 5:30 AM
SyberJet Aircraft upgraded the SJ30 with Honeywell’s Apex-based SyberVision avionics and targets first flight in 1Q 2014.

SyberJet Aircraft (Booth No.13023) is preparing to restart production of the SJ30 light twinjet. The company acquired the rights to the SJ30 in 2011. Hints of activity began a year ago when SyberJet announced that production would be moved from San Antonio, Texas, to Cedar City, Utah, and that Honeywell had been tapped to provide an upgraded avionics system, the Apex-based SyberVision. (The SJ30 currently features the Honeywell Epic system.)

The new avionics will include Honeywell’s SmartView synthetic vision with HUD symbology in a head-down presentation on the primary flight display, dual FMS and Inav moving map. The suite features up to four 12-inch LCDs, charts/maps, Taws-A, dual Waas LPV, graphical flight planning, onboard weather radar, electronic checklists, DME and ADS-B OUT. The system will support Fans/1A and RVSM operations.

Available options include controller pilot data link communications, high- frequency radio, satcom, ADS-B IN, enhanced vision, XM WX, flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder, dual charts/maps a second MFD and other customer-specified options.

Ed Swearingen Design

The transcontinental-range SJ30 began its design odyssey in the late 1980s but the jet was not certified until October 2005. Since then the company has passed through several owners, the latest being Emivest Aerospace. The SJ30 was designed by Ed Swearingen in the mid-1980s as the Gulfjet and received FAA Part 23 certification 20 years later in October 2005 as the SJ30. Since the aircraft’s inception, the program has had several owners, including Sino-Swearingen and Emivest, while producing only eight aircraft.

SyberJet general manager Mark Fairchild said a test aircraft is currently being outfitted with the new avionics and should make its first flight in the first quarter of 2014 with certification by year’s end. Concurrently, the company is working on a new interior design for the jet, which now seats four to six passengers. Plans are to have that approved in time for delivery of serial number 9, the first production aircraft manufactured by SyberJet. Fairchild said the new avionics and interior package should lighten the aircraft by approximately 200 pounds, with 110 of those coming from the new avionics.

Some thought is also being given to developing an in-flight entertainment and information system for the airplane that would allow passengers to connect with their own personal electronic devices such as iPads. “It will be more consumer-based,” he said.

That first SyberJet SJ30 will sell for $7.25 million and should be delivered by the end of next year. Beyond that, Fairchild declined to comment on delivery schedules, order backlogs or future prices. “Our new management is very conservative,” he said. “We want to under-promise and over-deliver.”

In Cedar City, work continues on setting up the SyberJet tooling and production line in a segregated building located next to the headquarters of parent company MSC Aerospace and sister company Metalcraft.

MSC acquired the SJ30 light jet program in April 2011 for $3.5 million from bankrupt Emivest Aerospace and was the major airframe subcontractor on the aircraft. Both state and local governments offered a multi-year tax incentive package with a combined value in excess of $43 million to entice MSC to locate the Syberjet headquarters and assembly facility in Cedar City and expand Metalcraft’s operations in Utah. “Our decision to locate the SJ30 assembly facility and SyberJet headquarters in Utah is a result of the incentive package offered by local and state officials,” noted David Grant, chairman of SyberJet parent company MSC Aerospace in 2011.

New Production Line

Fairchild said SyberJet plans to eventually build an entirely new aircraft production facility in Cedar City and that the company already has established a service center hangar at the airport there. A Part 145 repair station certificate for that facility is pending. The FAA audit for approval of that certificate has been successfully completed, Fairchild said. The company already holds a 145 certificate for its maintenance shop in San Antonio.

Fairchild said the Cedar City location will serve West Coast customers, noting that aircraft serial numbers 6 and 8 are based in Las Vegas. “We will have our own service centers in the United States and internationally we will have centers associated with sales centers, once production ramps up,” Fairchild said, adding that the company plans to sell factory direct in North America and would pursue EASA certification of the aircraft as soon as possible.

Besides the new avionics and interior, Fairchild said SyberJet is in discussions with engine maker Williams International to provide updated engines for the SJ30. The current aircraft features Williams FJ44-2A engines.

The SJ30 has a ceiling of 49,000 feet, a high-speed cruise speed of 0.83 Mach, a range of 2,500 nm and maintains a sea-level cabin pressure to 41,000 feet.