In The Works: Adam Aircraft A500

 - May 7, 2008, 4:40 AM

With the first flight of A500 S/N 0001 on July 11, the centerline-thrust, six-seat piston twin is poised to begin flight testing leading to certification, expected in the middle of next year. Three more of the carbon-fiber airplanes will join the program as they are produced. The proof-of-concept aircraft, designated M309 and designed by Burt Rutan, began flying in March 2000 and logged more than 300 hr before being retired. Among the changes in the design of the conforming aircraft are larger elevators, greater fuel capacity and the addition of an airstair door to the forward section of the pressurized fuselage. The cockpit features sidestick controls, dual Garmin GNS 530 navcoms and S-Tec autopilot. Powered by two Fadec-controlled, 350-hp Continental TSIO-550E engines, the 6,300-lb mtow A500 is expected to be certified to 25,000 ft, a max cruise speed of 250 kt and a max range of 1,150 nm (NBAA, IFR reserves). The company claims orders for more than 50 aircraft at a projected price of $935,000.