NBAA: Stratos closes in on funding as it moves towards production of personal jet

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Stratos Aircraft is closing in on $15 million of financing it says will take its high-performance Stratos 714 single-engine jet to the next stage of development, as it moves towards building and flying a prototype.

The Bend, Oregon-based start-up is showing its cabin mock-up at NBAA (booth 7815) for the second time. And since its debut at the AirVenture show in Oshkosh in August last year, the fuselage has been extended by 12in (30cm) to accommodate an extra row of seats, a lavatory or a larger baggage compartment.

The company, founded in 2007, aims to begin production in around six months. Although president and chief executive Alex Craig will not commit to a target date for first flight, or a final cost for the program, he says: "We know precisely what it will take. We have a detailed project management plan."

Stratos says the Williams FJ44-3AP-powered "very light personal jet" has the edge on rivals such as the Diamond D-Jet and Piper Altaire because it will be able to cruise at 41,000ft (12,500m) and 415kt (477mph). It also claims more legroom and headroom for passengers than its competitors. "We had a six-foot-ten Chicago Bulls basketballer sit in the mock-up today and he said it was the first time he could fit into a very light jet," says Craig.

Although the project team is based in Bend, Stratos has not settled on a location for its production plant. One possibility is the Cessna-owned former Columbia Aircraft factory in the Oregon city. But other communities are being considered, says Craig.