Grob Sees Slight Delay in SPn Jet Program

 - December 19, 2006, 12:02 PM

Certification of the Grob SPn Utility Jet will be delayed by a few months, according to a statement released last week, 16 days after the fatal crash of the company’s No. 2 prototype that killed chief test pilot Gerard Guillaumaud. “We hope to be able to continue with flight test shortly,” said Grob CEO Niall Olver. “We are now working toward European EASA certification toward the end of the first quarter of 2008, as opposed to the third quarter of 2007, with FAA certification following in the second quarter of that year.” Test aircraft No. 3 remains “on schedule” for first flight during the second quarter of next year. Test aircraft No. 4 will be “added to the flight-test program and will be fitted with a full interior by September 2007.” Prototype No. 1 is not flying, pending progress with the accident investigation, but a company spokesman told AIN this morning that the airplane could be flying again early in the new year. Meanwhile, Olver said Grob engineers are working “very closely” with investigators to determine the cause of the accident, which occurred during a demonstration flight on November 29. As reported last week, Olver told AIN that the elevators and left-hand stabilizer separated from the aircraft as it was setting up for a high-speed pass.