On September 10, Walled Lake, Mich.-based Williams International received FAA type certification of its new 1,568-pound-thrust FJ33-4A. The company will follow this milestone with the introduction of yet another turbofan engine.
Epic’s single-engine Victory jet made its first flight on July 6 from Roberts Field in Redmond, Ore. The Williams International FJ33-4A-powered jet was unveiled at the Sun ’n’ Fun show in April, and first flight took place 202 days after design work began.
Epic’s Elite VLJ made its maiden flight on June 7 from Redmond, Ore.’s Roberts Field. Performance projections for the Elite, which is powered by two Williams International FJ33-4 turbofans, include 410-knot maximum speed, 1,600-nm range with reserves at economy cruise and 1,330-pound payload with full fuel. Construction of the six- to eight-seat jet is all carbon fiber; avionics are Garmin’s G900X system.
It’s been more than seven years since Vern Raburn launched the Eclipse 500, a small, low-cost very light jet that he predicted would bring “disruptive technology” to aviation. At the time, the model 500 was to sell for $775,000 (in 2000 $), have a 44-cents-per-mile direct operating cost and be powered by tiny Williams International EJ22 engines. Certification and deliveries were expected in 2003.
If two competing companies have their way, Cessna 550 owners will soon be able to take their jet farther and higher, all while paying less per mile to do it.
Twelve people, including company president Bob Bornhofen, continue to work on the Sport-Jet single-engine jet program based in Colorado Springs, Colo. The first Sport-Jet prototype logged nearly 25 hours before crashing on takeoff on June 22 last year.
Like its non-turbine siblings–the DA40 Diamond Star and DA42 Twin Star–the Diamond D-Jet will feature a Garmin G1000 integrated avionics suite, Olathe, Kan.-based Garmin said yesterday. As such, Diamond’s very light jet single will have a three-panel G1000 flight-deck system with two primary flight displays and a multifunction display.
Safire Aircraft has selected Keith Products to supply the air conditioning for its very light jet, which is currently under development. The vapor-cycle system will be standard equipment on the six-place twinjet. Miami-based Safire also named Barry Controls to provide vibration isolators and mounting structure for the airplane’s two Williams International FJ33 turbofans.
Safire Aircraft said the price of its new six-place, twin-turbofan Safire Jet will increase to $1.495 million for new orders placed after the prototype flies later this year. The current price is $1.395 million. The aircraft, scheduled for certification in early 2006, will be powered by two Williams International FJ33-4A11s rated at 1,100 pounds of thrust each.
The single-engine, four/five-passenger Sport-Jet is the latest aircraft to join the very light jet race. The aircraft is under development by Excel-Jet of Monument, Colo., whose president is Bob Bornhofen, designer of the Maverick Leader kitbuilt jet. Bornhofen, who is not associated with Maverick Jets of Melbourne, Fla., told AIN that he hopes to have the first preproduction Sport-Jet prototype in the air by the end of the year.