EBACE Convention News

Spectrum is shoring up support for its new bizjet

 - November 28, 2006, 10:56 AM

Spectrum Aeronautical (Booth No. 960) is laying the foundations for a delivery and support network in Europe with subsidiary Spectrum Aviation Europe it established last year in Luxembourg.

The company, founded by industry veteran Linden Blue and based in San Diego, California, is working toward certifying its $3.65 million Spectrum 33 business jet in 2007 or 2008. Powered by a pair of Williams FJ33 turbofans and employing a graphite-epoxy construction process, the airplane promises to provide virtually the same cabin size as traditional eight/nine-seat business jets at less than two-thirds the weight. It is designed to carry up to nine passengers in a cabin the same width as that of a Citation CJ1/2 and cruise at FL 450 at speeds of up to 415 knots/Mach 0.72. Spectrum predicts its airplane will fly as far as 2,000 nm while burning about half the fuel of comparable-cabin aircraft that are currently in production.

Blue, who is managing director and is still well remembered for his role in the initial stages of Starship development while he was president of Beech, has not journeyed to Geneva for EBACE, but his son, Austin, is here in his role as Spectrum vice president of marketing.

The elder Blue, a 10,000-hour pilot, flew the Spectrum 33 for the first time late last month in Utah and declared himself to be “really surprised” by its spirited initial acceleration. “I think it would easily outperform a Learjet 24 in climb,” he said after the flight with Spectrum chief test pilot Bill Davies. Takeoff performance (eight seconds/1,000 feet to rotation) is something that Spectrum Aviation Europe CEO Stefano Sturlese predicts will appeal to operators in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “The Spectrum 33 will open up 2,400 more airports in Europe to use by a business jet,” he said here yesterday.

Sturlese said that the company plans to establish a European delivery center so customers can accept their airplanes without having to travel to Utah, and he foresees two or three training and support facilities in the region. Locations have yet to be disclosed.

Austin Blue told EBACE Convention News yesterday that production initially will take place in Spanish Fork, Utah, in a facility that is to be expanded to 120,000 sq ft from its current 60,000 sq ft. The production rate will be about two aircraft a month.

Spectrum recently hosted a three-day meeting in Utah with the FAA focusing on the requirements of CFR-14 Part 21, to smooth the way for type certification of the Spectrum 33.