Start-up Saker Launches S-1 Personal Jet Program

 - June 4, 2013, 3:20 PM
Saker Aircraft has unveiled its S-1 "personal jet," a Williams FJ44-powered, tandem two-seat jet with a range of 1,600 nm and top speed of Mach 0.99 in its "executive" form. The fighter-like jet will also be offered as a military version with an ejection seat and Mach 1.1 capability.

Former U.S. Air Force pilot Sean Gillette announced yesterday the launch of a new “personal jet” program, the Saker S-1, a twin-engine two-seater capable of flying 1,600 nm and cruising at Mach 0.95. With twin vertical fins, tandem seating and short fighter-like wings and stabilizer, the S-1 brings to mind the Aviation Technology Group Javelin.

Although Saker is employing AirBoss Aerospace, the same company that helped design the Javelin, the S-1 is larger. “Our aircraft has a similar mission,” said Gillette. “But it’s a lot bigger, with better performance and [about] 4,000 pounds heavier.” The S-1’s mtow is 11,500 pounds. Maximum altitude will be 45,000 feet, with the cabin pressurized to 8,000 feet.

Gillette is targeting both civil and military markets; the Mach 0.99 executive S-1 would cost about $5 million, while the military version with an ejection seat and Mach 1.1 capability would sell for $6- to $7 million. Gillette’s team, headquartered in Los Angeles, has completed preliminary design, and he said he is close to securing funding to build prototypes and receive FAA and EASA Part 23 certification. If all goes as planned, certification would occur in the 2017 to 2018 time frame, with deliveries beginning in 2019.


The primary purpose of this proposal is to see if there is any interest (i.e. investor money) to compete for the USAF trainer that will replace the T-38. The flag is up the pole. Let's see who salutes it. The industry needs competition for Lockheed and Boeing, but it will be tough going for a start-up company. There is a business model to follow, however. SpaceX and Sierra Neveda managed to weasel themselves into the exclusive big-boy aerospace field. Priority one is to curry favor with the right politicians, and acquire a few study contracts. Go get 'em.

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