Jim Rice, chairman and CEO of VisionAire Jets, surfaced at ABACE 2013 this week in Shanghai to market the benefits of a single-engine jet and tell potential investors about the program. VisionAire Jets is developing the all-composite Vantage Jet, which will be powered by a single Williams International FJ33-3AP turbofan and fly up to 1,500 nm with a pilot and five passengers.
VisionAire built and flew a prototype of the composite Vantage in 1996, at the time powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D. The company had orders for 155 jets before it went bankrupt in 2007. Last year, Rice restarted the company as VisionAire Jets and repurchased the intellectual property, the prototype Vantage and other assets.
During the original program, Rice estimated a need for $100 million to $150 million. He is hoping that Chinese investors will be interested in helping bring the Vantage to market. He said it will take four years to complete the Vantage design, build and fly prototypes and get it into production. “I’m convinced there is a market,” he said. “People would rather get in a jet than a turboprop.”