Miami-based Safire Aircraft announced in late April that it would not build the in-development all-composite S-26 very light jet it had announced in February 1999. Instead the company plans to develop the Safire Jet, a larger, all-aluminum design that it claims will be 50 knots faster (380 knots) than the S-26 and have 250 nm more range (1,150 nm NBAA IFR), while still having comparable operating costs. Safire’s action comes three months after it dropped the 900-pound-thrust Agilis TF1000 engine originally planned to power the S-26 in favor of the 1,100-pound-thrust Williams FJ33-4 turbofan.
Mirroring the schedule for the S-26, first flight of the new design is expected in the first quarter of next year, certification in late 2005 and initial deliveries in early 2006. Safire plans to assemble the very light jet from subcontracted components at its new headquarters at Opa Locka Airport near Miami. Target price of the Safire Jet is $1.395 million, compared with $950,000 for the S-26. Safire claims it holds deposits for more than 720 aircraft. CEO Camilo Saloman said he is confident that the new Safire Jet will become the first in a series of personal jets to be manufactured by Safire.