Embraer recently selected BMW DesignWorksUSA to design the interior for its planned very light jet (VLJ) and light jet, in addition to disclosing more defined development timelines for the common-platform twinjets. Embraer’s $2.75 million, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F-powered VLJ is expected to make its initial flight in the first quarter of 2007.
Very light jets
Scottsdale Ariz.-based fractional operator JetsAmerica is scheduled to take delivery of its first Eclipse 500 by the second week of March, according to company chairman and CEO Brandon Carlson. The company offers quarter-share turnkey ownership in the new very light jet. A one-quarter share will equal 200 hours of real flight time; Carlson says owners won’t be penalized for taxiing or empty positioning flights.
Start-up Spectrum Aeronautical of Los Angeles today unveiled a nine-seat, $3.65 million all-composite very light jet.
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.