Excel-Jet’s four-seat, single-engine very light jet, the Sport-Jet, flew for the first time on May 14 from Colorado Springs Airport. According to company president and founder Bob Bornhofen, as of May 15, the Sport-Jet had logged nearly four hours. “Takeoff rolls have all been less than 1,800 feet…Climb rates are almost 2,000 fpm; however, we still haven’t pushed the [thrust lever] to climb or takeoff power setting yet, so the real performance is still to come,” Bornhofen added.
Test pilot Ron McElroy described the all-composite, Williams FJ33-4-powered VLJ single as “very stable, quiet and [having] excellent control harmony and feel.” Certification of the $1 million Sport-Jet is planned for May 2008. Excel-Jet said the aircraft will cruise at 340 knots at 25,000 feet, with a range of 900 nm.