Spectrum 33 wings its way into test flight

 - September 25, 2006, 6:48 AM

Just two months after being unveiled at the NBAA Convention in November, the Spectrum 33 twinjet made a 10-minute first flight on January 7.

At 5,375 pounds, the Spectrum 33 prototype took off from Spanish Fork Airport, Utah, using about 750 feet of runway. Spectrum Aeronautical chief of flight test William Davies and veteran test pilot Ian Hollingsworth then repositioned the nine-seat very light jet to nearby Provo Airport, which has considerably longer runways, one 8,599 feet and the other 6,614 feet.

Davies noted that the aircraft performed as expected but that pitch control was not “optimum.” At press time, Spectrum engineers were fine-tuning the aircraft’s flight-control rigging to increase pitch control authority at higher speeds before the airplane flew again.

The $3.65 million Spectrum 33, which is built using a unique carbon-graphite construction process, is expected have a high-speed cruise of 415 knots and a max range of 2,000 nm. FAA certification of the Williams FJ33-4A-15-powered twinjet is slated for late next year or early 2008.

Start-up Spectrum Aeronautical of Los Angeles was founded by Linden Blue, father of the Beech Starship. The Spectrum jet’s cabin is almost identical to that of the $5.4 million Citation CJ2+. However, thanks to the weight savings from the use of advanced composite materials and construction process, the Spectrum 33’s fuel cost per nautical mile is projected to be 71 cents, about the same as that of the Eclipse 500.