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.
Very light jets
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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.”
The prospect of marginally qualified pilots hurtling through the rarefied atmosphere of the flight levels in very light jets and promoting fear and loathing in the heavy-metal professionals–which is how some people view the imminent advent of the “Volksjet” era–has been a topic of lively debate of late, and no surprise to Eclipse Aviation founder, president and CEO Vern Raburn.
Beyond the merriment that the very light jet is coming to market, the insurance industry is preparing to drop the curtain in the final act.
One month ahead of schedule, the first Citation Mustang production aircraft (S/N 0001) took to the air on August 29. The very light jet (VLJ) flew for exactly two hours, performing basic systems and avionics checks, including engaging the autopilot, testing handling characteristics, operating the gear and flaps, activating the de-ice system and evaluating engine response and performance.
Eclipse Aviation’s fourth conforming flight-test aircraft, N505EA, which made a gear-up landing on September 4 at Albuquerque International Sunport, will be repaired and back in the air by the end of this month, according to a company spokesman. The two pilots on board were not injured during the accident, and Eclipse said the cause of the belly landing was pilot error.
John and Martha King this month plan to take the wraps off a new online training course developed for pilots transitioning from traditional instruments to the Garmin G1000 integrated cockpit. The course will include about four hours of video with interactive quizzes at the end of each training session.
Last month Embraer released more details about its very light jet and light jet programs. Besides announcing that it has selected BMW DesignWorksUSA to design the interior for the two twinjets, the Brazilian manufacturer released clearer development timelines for the two aircraft.