Another company has launched a bid in the crowded single-engine jet field. Stratos Aircraft of Bend, Ore., has launched the Stratos 714, which it claims will outperform single-engine jets from Cirrus Design, Diamond Aircraft, Eclipse Aviation, Piper Aircraft and even most twin-engine very light jets.
The last year has been a rewarding one for Jet-Care International of Cedar Knolls, N.J., a subsidiary of UK’s Spectro Laboratories, its representatives reported at NBAA ’02. The company has expanded the list of clients for its services while also gaining good response to the new upgrade for its ECHO (Engine Condition Health Online) software package.
Williams International today will formally unveil its latest and most powerful turbofan, the 3,000-lb-thrust FJ44-3, a pair of which will power Cessna’s new CJ3. Williams has flown a development version of the new turbofan, on a CJ2 testbed.
Legendary aerobatic pilot Bob Hoover recently joined the flight testing and evaluation team for Sierra Industries’ FJ44 Eagle II, a retrofit of the Cessna Citation 501 with Williams International FJ44-2A fanjets.
With all 173 Eclipse Aviation employees now figuratively under one roof at Sunport International Airport in Albuquerque, N.M., the company expects to begin assembly this month of its first flight-test airplane in preparation for the model’s initial flight next July.
Cessna Aircraft is here at EBACE, sailing high after the successful first flight of its Citation CJ4 prototype early this month. The Wichita, Kansas- based airframer said the two-hour and 22-minute flight, which reached an altitude of 16,000 feet, consisted of flight maneuvers aimed at evaluating stability and control along with initial control systems evaluations.
Claiming that Williams International did not meet its “contractual obligations” and is “significantly behind schedule” in development of the EJ22 turbofan for the Eclipse 500 very light twinjet, Eclipse Aviation on November 27 disclosed it has dropped Williams and is negotiating with “two Fortune 100 engine suppliers.” Eclipse 500 certification is expected to be delayed significantly.
At press time Eclipse Aircraft had flown the first Eclipse 500 very light jet just once–on August 26–pending the return of both engines from manufacturer Williams International of Walled Lake, Mich. Citing problems with engine accessories, fuel metering and starters, Eclipse sent both EJ22 turbofans back to the manufacturer not long after the first flight. On October 22 the right engine was back at Eclipse’s Albuquerque, N.M.
Two NASA-industry partnerships could produce tangible benefits for aircraft operators in the near term. The turbofan engine research is being conducted by NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland as part of its aerospace propulsion and power program, the same division that Williams International teamed up with to develop the 700-lb-thrust FJX2 turbofan.
Diamond Aircraft is delaying the D-Jet program to install an engine with greater power output. The new engine is the -19 version of the Williams International FJ33-4A, delivering 1,900 pounds of thrust compared with the original -15’s 1,564 pounds. Coincidentally, that is almost the same engine change made by Spectrum Aeronautical with its S-33 Independence VLJ, switching from the FJ33-4A-15 to a 1,750-pound-thrust version of the -19.