In The Works: Grob Aerospace SPn

 - November 28, 2007, 6:31 AM

Grob Aerospace chief test pilot Tore Reimers and test pilot Peter Weger made the first flight in the number three SPn carbon-fiber light jet on October 29. The airplane is equipped with most systems that will be used in the conforming version, according to Grob, including the production Liebherr Aerospace landing gear. The test pilots flew number three twice on October 29. The first flight took off from Grob’s headquarters airport in Tussenhausen-Mattsies, flew to Allgäu Airport in Memmingen, Germany, then returned to Grob’s airfield. The flights included basic systems checkouts and control evaluation.

Two SPns, including the first one built, are in the flight-test program and will be joined by a fourth by year-end. (The second crashed a year ago.) Then the first two series-production SPns will join the program. Next up for Grob is airframe fatigue testing, which was scheduled for the fourth quarter. Based on customer input, Grob engineers moved the oxygen system, single-point refueling and some electrical power distribution components inside large access panels in the wing root fairing. Avionics and hydraulic systems are accessible through panels installed in the nose compartment. Certification was planned for the end of next year’s second quarter, but that might be delayed. The SPn, powered by two 2,800-pound-thrust Williams International FJ44-3A turbofans, offers a 405-cu-ft cabin, 1,800-nm range, 3,000-foot balanced field length at max takeoff weight and can operate from unimproved runways.