Quest Aircraft selected the Garmin G1000 as the standard avionics for its under-development Kodiak, a 10-seat STOL turboprop single scheduled to be certified in the first half of next year. The G1000 avionics system has been certified in a variety of piston airplanes and has also been selected by Cessna for the Citation Mustang very light jet. Meanwhile, Quest has opened its 57,000-sq-ft Kodiak production facility in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Very light jets
Albuquerque, N.M.-based start-up manufacturer Eclipse Aviation said its six-month-old JetMatch program has “more than exceeded our expectations.” JetMatch “facilitates partnerships” in new Eclipse 500s via a password-protected message board on the company’s Web site. An Eclipse spokesman said the service has thus far resulted in two matches for the $1.295 million VLJ.
The mockup Embraer used to design the interiors for its very light jet (VLJ) and light jet (LJ) revealed a lack of room for the passengers’ feet. (Embraer last month tapped BMW Group DesignworksUSA to design the jets’ interiors.) This has prompted a cabin cross-section change from a circular design to an egg-shaped one, resulting in an extra five inches of foot room without compromising any other cabin dimensions.
Look for a new single-engine jet to be unveiled at the NBAA Convention this month. Spectrum Aeronautical, based in Encinitas, Calif., and led by industry veteran (and father of the Beech Starship) Linden Blue, has taken a booth at the convention. Its product is the Model 33, a single-engine jet with composite construction. N322LA is the registration assigned to S/N 0001.
GE Honda Aero Engines, though it has yet to announce an airframe application for its engine, continues to develop its HF118 1,700-pound-thrust turbofan. The company validated durability and performance enhancements on rig tests held in March at Honda’s facility in Japan.
Two more established OEMs–Embraer and Raytheon Aircraft–confirmed they are looking at introducing aircraft into the light or very light jet market. But they have yet to commit to firm projects as Cessna has with the Citation Mustang.
According to the National Business Travel Association, U.S. businesses spend $29 billion a year for approximately 65 million trips on the airlines. But with airlines reducing flights from non-hub airports by 19 percent last year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for some employees to get from Point A to B using the airlines.
With very light jets (VLJs) expected to enter service by this time next year, turboprop singles are now meeting the contender face-to-face in the marketplace. It was bound to happen, given that the two different classes of airplane have similar range capabilities, cabin volume and acquisition costs.
Eclipse Aviation of Albuquerque, N.M., increased the price of its Eclipse 500 very light twinjet to $1.295 million (in 2000 dollars), a jump of $120,000 over the previous tag. The new price is still less than that of any of the other very light twinjets under development.
Some 7,417 business jets will be delivered between 2005 and 2014, peaking with the shipment of more than 800 jets in 2013, according to the Teal Group’s 15th annual business jet forecast. This projection is for about 35 percent more jets than the approximately 5,500 actually delivered between 1995 and 2004.