In The Works: Phoenix Fanjet
The future of this Williams-Rolls FJ44-1A-powered evolution of the former Promavia Jet Squalus is murkier following the closure of Alberta Aerospace, the Canadian company that was attempting to certify the single-engine, two-seat SigmaJet and four-set MagnaJet. (Alberta was doing business as Phoenix FanJet.) Donald Jewitt, chairman, CEO and Alberta shareholder, closed the firm’s Calgary offices on November 16 and laid off its two full-time employees (a CAD/CAM engineer and a secretary). The other five Alberta board members resigned.
Development of the airplane into a certifiable aircraft was delayed by legal proceedings in Belgium following Promavia’s bankruptcy in 1998 and the dot-com meltdown in 2000, which complicated Alberta’s planned IPO. Jewitt, who was elected chairman of the board in May, is also a principal shareholder in LZ Aircraft Works, the Czech company formed by the merger of Moravan Aeroplanes and Let Kunovice in August. (According to Tom Heath, LZ Aircraft Works spokesman, Jewitt is spending much time in the Czech Republic, taking stock of the assets of the merged company. This month, Heath said, LZ plans to roll out the Orenda OE-600-powered L-400 Rhino, a derivative of the Russian TechnoAvia SM-92 Finist, for which the company is seeking civil certification.)
Other Alberta shareholders, led by John McIntee, who started the program but left the board two years ago, are attempting to put together a plan to revitalize the Fanjet airplanes. According to McIntee, negotiations are under way that could result in the company becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of a European OEM. But until that plan materializes and the Phoenix program rises from the ashes like its namesake we'll leave it off the ITW chart.