Grob SPn Light Jet Makes First Flight

 - April 17, 2007, 11:34 AM

The first business jet from Grob Aerospace made its maiden flight yesterday. With former Diamond Aircraft test pilot Gérard Guillaumaud in the left seat and Tore Reimers as the copilot, the SPn Utility Jet took off at 11:14 a.m. from Allgäu Airport in southern Germany. The main objective of the 66-minute first hop was to test system functionality and evaluate the aircraft’s handling characteristics. The Tussenhausen, Germany-based company said the light jet is now on schedule to reach full expansion of the flight envelope by the fourth quarter of this year. EASA certification is pegged for the first quarter of 2007, with FAA approval and first deliveries expected in the following quarter. In a surprise move, Grob displayed the SPn last month at the June Paris Air Show, after having kept development a closely held secret. The aircraft has an all-carbon-fiber airframe and is powered by two 2,800-pound-thrust Williams FJ44-3A engines. Honeywell supplies the jet’s Apex avionics suite. Grob said the $7.1 million SPn will be able to fly 1,670 nm with a full load of eight passengers. The company describes the aircraft as a utility jet, emphasizing expectations that it will meet mission demands beyond those of corporate or personal transport.