Israel Aircraft Industries of Tel Aviv and Avocet Aircraft of Westport, Conn., are within weeks of finalizing their definitive partnership agreement on the development, certification and production of the proposed very light ProJet, according to Avocet CEO David Tait. Since announcing the $2 million business jet last August, the companies have said little about the project. Said Tait, “We’re attempting to learn from the mistakes of others and not reveal too much too soon.” He said IAI engineers have been working steadily to determine the final design specifications of the very light jet (preliminary mtow 7,160 pounds).
The company has also been in discussions with avionics and engine manufacturers, including Honda and General Electric (“for some time” before February’s announcement of the Honda/GE alliance, Tait said), but Avocet has made no decision yet on either the avionics or the powerplant. Delivery of the first ProJet is planned for the first quarter of 2007, “assuming the engines are completed,” he added.
Until the design is final, Avocet is taking “pre-orders” for the jet, requiring a $5,000 fully refundable deposit. Once the design is finalized, customers have 30 days to make a $50,000 deposit to hold the order. As announced at the NBAA Convention last October, charter operator Jet Partners of Cleveland has placed a pre-order for 100 ProJets for its UltraJet private jet membership company. Football legend Joe Montana, who now owns an IAI Westwind II, has ordered one ProJet (S/N 16, his number while quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers) and agreed to serve on Avocet’s customer advisory board.