Jim Christy, vice president of Hayden, Idaho-based Aerostar Aircraft, continues his search for an investor or investors willing to put up $50 million–while not demanding the whole store– to bring the proposed turbofan-powered derivative of the Piper Aerostar 600/700 through certification and into production. The 1,200-pound-thrust Williams FJ33 was the engine originally envisioned for the six- to eight-seat, 7,300-pound mtow FJ-100, but now that Pratt & Whitney Canada is developing an engine in the same category (the PW610F for the Eclipse 500 and the PW615F for the Citation Mustang), the PW600 series is being considered as well.
Aerostar Aircraft, which has held the type certificate for all Aerostars since 1991, announced the FJ-100 in 1998. Christy said Aerostar would consider smaller investment offers that would just get a FJ-100 prototype flying ($2 million) or bring it to certification ($15 million), without production funding. But, he said, “We’d really like to get the whole $50 million from the start. Then we can concentrate 100 percent on development and not worry about fundraising.” He figures it will take 2.5 years from the time funding is secured to certification.