SJ30-2 program on target for certification in third quarter

 - February 2, 2007, 9:48 AM

Sino Swearingen insists that the 2,500-nm-range SJ30-2 will be certified in the third quarter of this year, despite numerous program delays and the crash of S/N 002 in April 2003 (see page 1). “Three test aircraft–Serial Numbers 003, 004 and 005–are now flying seven days a week, and I’m comfortable that we will achieve FAA approval in the third quarter,” a company spokesman told AIN.

Last summer the company completed high-speed dive tests at Mach 0.90, confirming the SJ30-2’s Mach 0.83 high-speed cruise and that the aircraft does not encounter flutter at any operating speeds up to Mach 0.90. Since then, the spokesman said, the twinjet’s 91-knot stall speed has been validated–a feat accomplished thanks to the SJ30-2’s leading-edge slats and Fowler flaps.

At press time Sino Swearingen was conducting test flights with ice shapes attached to the wings and tail. After successful completion of these trials, the test pilots will fly the aircraft into known-icing conditions to do the required natural icing analysis.

The spokesman said that the company has completed SJ30-2 static testing, with fatigue testing fully under way. Meanwhile, S/N 005 will soon be outfitted with an interior. This aircraft is expected to be displayed at ABACE in July and the NBAA Convention in mid-November.

On the product-support front, Sino Swearingen is now stocking a spare-parts depot and finalizing plans for factory-authorized maintenance facilities. According to the company spokesman, three factory-authorized maintenance shops will supplement support services supplied by SJ30-2 distributors. (A full list of the distributors will be released in the third quarter.) He further added that Sino Swearingen aims to provide the same reliability for the SJ30-2 as that for “Falcons and Gulfstreams.”

Despite its claims that sales of the $5.495 million (complete, 2004 dollars) SJ30-2 are “brisk,” the company says it will not divulge the order backlog until the twinjet is certified. The price of the twinjet is likely to increase as certification nears, the company told AIN. Not surprisingly, the spokesman said about two-thirds of the SJ30-2s sold are destined for U.S. customers, with the remainder to be delivered to owners in other countries.