In The Works: Spirit Wing FJ44 Learjet 25D

 - January 9, 2008, 3:51 AM

Despite a prediction in early October that its Williams FJ44-powered Learjet 25D would make its first flight within two weeks, Guthrie, Okla.-based Spirit Wing had yet to fly the airplane last month, but it “could happen before the end of the year,” Mike Pinwell, director of operations, said. “First flight is really, really, really, really close,” he told AIN. “We’re taking care of some maintenance issues. There are no mod issues, but the airplane was down for two years and nearly completely gutted, so we’re finding some maintenance things. Every time we fix one thing, something else pops up that we have to fix. We’re not letting time concerns supersede safety.” He said Spirit Wing plans to fly about 10 hr of functional check flights on the airplane before bringing it down “to change one engineering issue,” but declined to say what that was. The airplane should be back in the air by February for certification flight testing, planned to take place in Tucson, Ariz. “We could possibly obtain the STC late in the second quarter,” Pinwell said, “but more realistically, we’ll probably get it sometime in the third quarter.”