Start-up Spectrum Aeronautical of Los Angeles today unveiled a nine-seat, $3.65 million all-composite very light jet.
Very light jets
The latest Honeywell Aerospace business aviation outlook, released yesterday at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, predicts deliveries of new business jets this year will reach 745, up from 589 last year. Next year, deliveries might exceed 800 bizjets. Looking at the 10-year period through 2015, the forecast predicts deliveries of about 9,900 new business jets, equating to $156 billion in sales.
The stock market is on the upswing, initial public offerings were up this year for the first time since 2000 and the business aviation industry is recovering, but finding investment capital continues to be the biggest obstacle for companies hoping to bring new turbine business airplanes to the market. And for good reason–the last start-up company to build, certify and deliver a business jet was Learjet in 1964.
It will likely surprise AIN readers to learn that Eclipse Aviation has changed its plans for initial and recurrent pilot training by forming an alliance with United Airlines.
Early last month, Safire Aircraft of Opa-Locka, Fla., announced it had filed a type certificate application with the FAA for its very light Safire Jet, the first step in the certification process. Said Camilo Salomon, president and CEO, “Major assemblies and components for the Safire Jet will begin arriving at our facility in the spring, and we’ll begin assembly of the first prototype.
Bend, Ore.-based Air Investor Resources (AIR)–the parent company of Epic Aircraft, which is currently flight-testing its Epic LT turboprop single–is now teaming with Tbilisi Aerospace Manufacturing (TAM) of Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, to produce a $1.9 million very light jet (VLJ), dubbed the Tam-Air Epic Jet. The six-seat jet, which shares about 80-percent commonality with its composite turboprop-single
Aviation Technology Group of Englewood, Colo., said last month that the Javelin demonstrator prototype is undergoing final assembly at ATG’s research and development facilities in Englewood.
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.
Englewood, Colo.-based Adam Aircraft plans to build its A500 piston twin and A700 very light twinjet in Ogden, Utah. The company reported that it leased 22,000 sq ft of Kemp Jet Services’ property at Kemp Ogden Airport. Certification and customer deliveries of the A700 are scheduled to begin next year.