In The Works: Alberta Phoenix Fanjet
In late 2001, successful Canadian oilman Don Jewitt, then principle investor in Alberta Aerospace of Calgary, decided the OEM start-up company had spent too much money in its effort to acquire and certify the two-seat Promavia Jet Squalus, which it had renamed the Phoenix FanJet. In November of that year, he closed the company’s doors and concentrated his efforts and money on another aviation venture, LZ Aircraft in the Czech Republic–which is now in bankruptcy. Alberta had also planned on certifying and producing a four-seat version of the airplane called the MagnaJet. Both models were to be powered by a single Williams-Rolls FJ44-1 turbofan engine.
Since then, John McIntee, the revived Alberta Aerospace’s current CEO, and other former Alberta board members and investors have been working to bring the Phoenix FanJet to life again. McIntee told AIN last month that their more than two years of efforts may soon reach fruition. “The Phoenix FanJet is one of the offset projects under consideration by the Polish government in its selection of the Lockheed Martin F-16,” he said. The selection, announced late in December, is reportedly worth $3.5 billion to Lockheed Martin. Before the selection was announced, AIN had reported, “The choice of a multi-role fighter aircraft for the Polish air force could result in the launch of a ‘private jet’ in Poland, depending on the offset proposals of the winning bidder.” The Phoenix FanJet, although earlier aimed more at the trainer market than the very light business jet market, would be that “private jet.” Polish government officials have estimated the value of all offset programs associated with the selection of the F-16 at between $6 billion and $10 billion.
McIntee told AIN last month there were still some issues to resolve regarding financing before the offset deal is completed. Under Alberta’s agreement with Lockheed Martin, the American company would provide Alberta with technical assistance in the redesign of the Phoenix airplane so that it could be more readily certified and less costly to manufacture.