Stratos aims to shatter single-engine jet performance paradigm

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Oregon-based start-up Stratos Aircraft has launched a single-engined personal jet that it says will deliver 2,780km (1,500nm) range at maximum payload at 400kt (740 km/h) cruise speed, performance criteria that are "not simply two unrelated data points in a brochure."

The $2 million carbonfibre Stratos 714, powered by a FADEC-equipped Williams International FJ44-3AP, will take on aircraft from Cirrus, Diamond, Eclipse and Piper in the increasingly crowded single-engine personal jet niche, set to go live with the certification of Diamond's D-Jet in mid-2009.

According to Stratos's competitive analysis, the 714's speed and range versus price is unrivalled in the single-engine very light jet sector. The closest competitor in the category is the $2.2 million PiperJet, with a high-speed cruise of 360kt.

Founded by entrepreneur Michael Lamaire and aerospace engineer Carsten Sundin, the company is targeting owners of high-performance piston aircraft looking for a 50% increase in speed, or turbine aircraft owners eager to save money on fuel while maintaining performance.

Lamaire, a Lancair owner, decided to invest in the idea after finding that today's single-engine VLJ offerings do not offer enough speed and range to make him want to abandon his Lancair. "We did some wish figures for what would make me switch from the Lancair," he says. "If we could get a 50% increase in speed and the same range, that would be something that would make me swap. We probed and saw that there was nothing out there that was close."

Current design parameters include a 3,175kg (7,000lb) maximum gross weight airframe, laminar flow wing with blended winglets and a cruciform tail. The 3,030lb-thrust (13.5kN) engine is to be located aft and below the wing with symmetric inlets ahead of the wings. The passenger cabin is to be 132cm (52in) high by 142cm wide and pressurised to sea level conditions up to 25,000ft (7,620m) and 6,000ft at its maximum operating altitude of 41,000ft. Baggage areas are to be provided in the nose and tail sections.

Lamaire says the company is actively searching for investors and has started some basic computer-aided design work.