Brazilian startup plans very light jet

 - July 28, 2009, 7:01 AM

GP Aerospace, a Brazilian startup company established by former Embraer technical director Guido Pessotti, has revealed to AIN plans for a personal very light jet, which would be smaller than currently available very light jets.

The GP-210 is built around two 740-pound-thrust DGEN390 turbofan engines, which are currently being developed by France-based Price Induction. The four-seat jet is to have a 4,300-pound mtow and a wingspan of 33 feet. (For comparison, the Diamond D-Jet has an mtow of 5,690 pounds.) The GP-210 would cruise at up to 276 knots at 20,000 feet, and have an operational ceiling of 25,000 feet.

GP Aerospace engineer Stéphane Brand said the São José dos Campos-based company is targeting piston airplane pilots who want to upgrade to higher speed and better reliability at an affordable price.

Pessotti also previously headed Eviation, which had been trying to develop a very light twinjet based on the VisionAire Vantage, a six-seat, single-engine jet. VisionAire Corp., formerly of Chesterfield, Mo., built one proof-of-concept Vantage, but shut down after entering bankruptcy in 2003.

Price Induction, a startup company based in Anglet in south- west France, is currently ground testing a slightly less powerful version of the DGEN390 engine– the 570-pound DGEN380. The 380’s core engine is undergoing a new series of trials in nearby Tarnos. Its first test campaign, with a full engine, ended in 2007 after the engine accrued 50 hours and 1,200 starts. DGEN380 certification is expected in mid-2011.

The powerplant maker did make one delivery, in September last year, to the ISAE, a Toulouse-based aerospace engineering school, which now uses a DGEN380 for educational purposes. “They keep us informed of their own test results,” said Price Induction deputy manager Romain Cassan.

A DGEN engine has one fan, one high-pressure compressor stage, one high-pressure turbine stage and one low-pressure turbine stage. This simplicity disguises innovations such as a geared fan and a shaft-mounted electric generator. The bypass ratio, at 7.6, is high for this class of engines.

The DGEN390 planned for the GP-210 has a different core but shares 95 percent commonality with the DGEN380.