Melbourne, Fla.-based Maverick Jets has moved manufacturing of its five-seat Leader twinjet kitplane to Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing in the republic of Georgia, CIS, to take advantage of TAM’s 2.7 million-square-foot, ISO 9000-certified facility. Subsequently, some 50 employees involved in manufacturing in Melbourne were let go.
Two U.S.-built Maverick kits have been shipped to TAM for assembly and the composite fuselage molds are en route, according to Sandy Scott, Maverick chief pilot and director of client development. He told AIN that first flight of a TAM-assembled Leader powered by Williams FJ33 turbofans could take place as early as January, after the FJ33 is certified later this year. He said Maverick now plans to obtain European certification for the $1.25 million Leader and has shelved plans for a derivative six-seat business jet for the time being.
Maverick did not exhibit at EAA AirVenture, but famed test pilot and airshow performer Bob Hoover, who is a consultant for Maverick, was there, signing copies of his book and talking with admirers. He told AIN he would be flight testing his own FJ33-powered Maverick Leader when assembled and providing feedback to the company, but didn’t know when this would happen.