Launching a new era for the 70-year-old lightplane manufacturer, Piper Aircraft president and CEO Jim Bass last month took the wraps off the design mockup for the single-engine, six-seat PiperJet, an airplane priced at $2.19 million that adds another serious player to the market for very light jets.
Peter Mauer, president of Diamond Aircraft’s North American division, last month said components of the single-engine Diamond D-Jet were taking shape in anticipation of an October first flight. At press time, the fuselage, wing spars and skins, and vertical fin and horizontal tail for the first nonconforming prototype were complete at Diamond’s Wiener Neustadt, Austria headquarters.
Colorado-based Excel Jet selected the 1,500-pound-thrust FJ33-4A turbofan for the single-engine Sport-Jet. Previously, Excel Jet said the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F would power the very light jet.
First flight of Diamond Aircraft’s D-Jet has apparently slipped from this past October to sometime next year, according to the company’s Web site. A Diamond spokesman did not return repeated telephone calls seeking a reason for the delay in the very light jet’s progress. One press report from the AOPA Convention last month quoted a company representative saying that the D-Jet would fly in March.
Start-up Spectrum Aeronautical of Encinitas, Calif., joined the crowded very light jet segment last month when it unveiled a nine-seat, $3.65 million all-composite VLJ at the NBAA Convention. Managing director Linden Blue (known to many as the father of the Beech Starship) bills the 7,300-pound-mtow Spectrum 33–powered by a pair of Williams International FJ33 engines–as a “full-size airplane at half the weight.”
Aviation Technology Group’s Javelin twinjet prototype completed its maiden flight from Denver Centennial Airport on September 30. At 7:50 a.m. MST, ATG operations v-p and chief test pilot Robert Fuschino lifted off from Runway 17L at Centennial and flew the very light jet prototype for 35 minutes.
Look for a new single-engine jet to be unveiled at the NBAA Convention this month. Spectrum Aeronautical, based in Encinitas, Calif., and led by industry veteran (and father of the Beech Starship) Linden Blue, has taken a booth at the convention. Its product is the Model 33, a single-engine jet with composite construction. N322LA is the registration assigned to S/N 0001.
Diamond Aircraft in late June selected the Garmin G1000 integrated avionics system for its D-Jet, a very light jet powered by a single Williams FJ33-4 engine. The D-Jet’s flight deck will feature a three-panel G1000 system with two primary flight displays and a multifunction display.
Epic Aircraft parent company Aircraft Investor Resources (AIR) and Republic of Georgia-based Tbilisi Aviation Machine (TAM) in late July further cemented a joint venture announced last fall to build a $2 million very light jet (VLJ). Under the partnership, Epic Aircraft and TAM will co-produce the twinjet–Epic at its new 90,000-sq-ft Bend, Ore. facility and TAM at a plant in Tbilisi.
Diamond’s Williams FJ33-powered D-Jet didn’t fly as planned in October, but the first flight appears to be right around the corner. According to Diamond North American president Peter Mauer, the proof-of-concept D-Jet (S/N 001) is nearing completion at Diamond’s London, Ontario facility and will roll out next month.