The race is on; the first manufacturer to certify, build and deliver a single-engine jet that offers reasonable performance and price might have the market to itself until Piper Aircraft’s PiperJet joins the fray in 2010. Unless Cirrus Design has far more up its sleeve than it has revealed thus far, it appears that Diamond will be first to market with its surprisingly roomy D-Jet.
Adam Aircraft Industries
The European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition, which hosted its inaugural event here just six years ago with relatively modest ambitions, has blossomed into what some exhibitors now regard as the most important event on their show calendar.
Hainan Zhong Hangtai General Aviation Airlines Company, the China-based operating entity of Los Angeles, California company Ameritec, placed a firm order for 50 Adam Aircraft A700 very light jets here yesterday. Based on Hainan Island off China’s southern coast, the company already operates Cessna Caravans in charter service in China and plans to sell and charter the A700 as general aviation there grows in the coming years.
Of more than 30 new business jet designs now in various stages of development, no fewer than seven are very light jet (VLJ) projects represented here at the
European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition.
Nearly all of these projects are clean-sheet designs, typically absorbing more money and time than variants of existing designs and demonstrating the faith aircraft manufacturers have in this prospective new market.
Though the problems Eclipse Aviation has experienced with certification and production are well known by now, other VLJ manufacturers haven’t been spared these trials. Adam Aircraft told AIN this week that despite flying its first production-conforming A700 last week, it is pushing back the planned certification date to late this year or early next year.
Adam Aircraft of Englewood, Colo., “hopes to announce receipt of the type inspection authorization for the Adam 500 [piston twin] soon,” a spokesman told AIN late last month. The TIA means official FAA flight testing may begin and is granted only after a company can present an aircraft that is conformed to the type design and structural testing is completed.
New Mexico’s license plates proclaim it to be the “Land of Enchantment.” And a growing number of business aircraft manufacturers are enchanted with New Mexico’s efforts toward becoming an “aviation cluster” of airframe manufacturers and supporting businesses.
Adam Aircraft named former Gulfstream and Cessna executive Joe Walker as its group president of commercial sales, as the Denver-based firm simultaneously develops the A500 centerline-thrust piston twin and A700 very light twinjet. Walker will “play a key role” in the expansion of the company’s marketing and customer support efforts, according to a company press release.
Call them what you want–very light jets (VLJs), compact jets, minijets, microjets, personal jets or even Barbie jets–they’re no longer “paper” airplanes. First deliveries of certified VLJs are less than a year away, if Eclipse Aviation adheres to its plan to begin deliveries of its Model 500 next March.
Englewood, Colo.-based Adam Aircraft expects FAA certification of its centerline-thrust A500 piston twin in the first quarter of this year and first deliveries by March, according to a company spokesman. Last year at this time the company was estimating certification in the second quarter of 2003; this was subsequently revised to the fall of 2003. “There’s no one thing in particular that caused the delay,” a spokesman said.