Start-up firm enters VLJ ring

 - July 30, 2008, 5:53 AM

Another company has launched a bid in the crowded single-engine jet field. Stratos Aircraft of Bend, Ore., has launched the Stratos 714, which it claims will outperform single-engine jets from Cirrus Design, Diamond Aircraft, Eclipse Aviation, Piper Aircraft and even most twin-engine very light jets.

For $2 million, buyers of the Stratos 714 will be able to carry four occupants 1,500 miles (NBAA IFR range at maximum payload, alternate distance unspecified). High-speed cruise will exceed 410 knots, 50 knots faster than the $2.2 million PiperJet (the quickest aircraft in the current single-engine stable), according to Stratos. Only the Eclipse 400 shares the 714’s four-seat capacity; the other jets range from five to seven seats. The 714 will maintain sea-level cabin altitude to 25,000 feet, and at the 41,000-foot ceiling the cabin altitude will be 6,000 feet. The 714 will be powered by a fadec-controlled 3,030-pound-thrust Williams International FJ44-3AP. Maximum takeoff weight is projected to be 7,000 pounds.

The airframe will be made of carbon composite material. Artwork provided by Stratos shows a cruciform-tail low-wing design with air inlets on either side of the fuselage. The 714 will feature two external baggage compartments, one large enough for golf clubs.

Stratos is led by CEO Michael Lemaire and chief technical officer Carsten Sundin, an aeronautical engineer who used to work for kit-airplane manufacturer Lancair.