Adam Aircraft of Englewood, Colo., told AIN that certification of the $2.1 million A700 business jet has moved to the right, from December this year to “early next year.” The company attributes the slippage to a delay in certification of the A500 centerline-thrust piston twin, from which the A700 twinjet is derived.
The company expected to receive FAA approval for the A500 in November last year, but at press time Adam was hoping for this certification by the end of last month. According to Adam president Joe Walker, A500 S/N 5 is scheduled to be delivered this month, with two of the piston twins going to customers next month. About 36 of the $1.15 million airplanes are expected to be delivered by year-end.
In any case, certification of the A700 will lag 12 months behind approval of its piston sibling. Adam’s proof-of-concept test jet (which is not a type-conforming air- plane) has logged about 225 hours since its maiden flight on July 27, 2003. That aircraft is now flying once or twice a week for customer demonstration flights.
Meanwhile, the first conforming A700 is under construction and should be rolled out by April. While the A700 shares about two-thirds parts commonality with the A500, Walker said his company is still in negotiations with the FAA on how much of the certification work for the piston twin can be used in the twinjet’s approval efforts–the more the better for Adam Aircraft.
According to Walker, the backlog for the A700 jet has grown substantially from the orders for five twinjets in December 2003. He said there are individual orders for 35 twinjets from owner/operators and some flight departments, in addition to the 75-aircraft fleet order from Pogo, the start-up air-limo operator announced last year by former airline executives Robert Crandall and Donald Burr.
The “handshake” order for 100 A700s from an unidentified fractional provider announced at the NBAA Convention in October has yet to be finalized, according to Walker. When the soft order was made public at the show, the company president hoped the deal would be signed by the end of last year. “We’re still negotiating with the fractional customer,” he said last month, adding that the unnamed company plans to sell shares in the very light jets instead of using the small airplanes to position flight crews, as has been speculated.㉍