In The Works: Grob G180 SPn Utility Jet

 - September 15, 2006, 5:33 AM

Grob Aerospace recently announced significant enhancements to its G180 SPn light jet. Besides coming standard with an enhanced version of the Honeywell Apex avionics system, the twinjet can be configured with a new six-seat executive interior, which includes a full lavatory and galley. Further new options include an auxiliary power unit and an enhanced-vision system.

The German aircraft manufacturer said it expects a second SPn prototype to join the flight-test program this month, and that a third ship will enter service early next year. EASA certification is still planned for the first quarter of next year, with FAA approval to follow later that year.

The light jet has successfully completed testing of major flight envelope parameters and is meeting key performance specifications, Grob said. Since the first prototype first flew last year, flight-testing has emphasized performance, systems development and flight-envelope expansion.

Vital tests covered so far include field performance, stalls, icing shapes, flight to the 41,000-foot ceiling and maximum speed (Vmo). According to Grob, the light jet’s landing distance at maximum weight has been reduced by almost 10 percent to 2,670 feet.

Test emphasis is now shifting to systems validation, with the soon-to-fly second prototype set to test production avionics, environmental control, anti-icing and other systems. The third SPn–a fully equipped pre-production aircraft fitted with a full interior and major avionics options–will be used to complete final certification and reliability testing next year.