SyberJet preparing revamped SJ30 for 2014 maiden flight

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SyberJet Aircraft, the new owner of the SJ30 business aircraft, is preparing to fly the upgraded version of the high speed, light cabin jet in the first quarter of 2014, leading to service entry around a year later.

"The only change we are making to the original SJ30 - which was certificated in 2005 - is a new glass-panel cockpit, called SyberVision," says SyberJet president Chuck Taylor.

The Honeywell-based system uses SmartView synthetic vision with head-up display symbology in a head-down presentation on the primary flight display, a dual flight management system and an Inav moving map.

"The system is now being installed in the flight test aircraft [serial number seven] for which we are redesigning the nose bay in order to accommodate it," adds Taylor, who is also founder of SyberJet's parent company, MSC Aerospace, which purchased the assets of former SJ30 owner Emivest Aerospace in April 2011 for $5.19 million.

The start-up manufacturer this month decided to relocate its headquarters and SJ30 assembly plant from San Antonio, Texas, to Cedar City, Utah, having received an attractive incentive package from the state. SyberJet's sister company and SJ30 airframe supplier - Metalcraft Technologies (MTI) - has been based in the southern Utah town for more than 25 years.

"The San Antonio facility will continue to be used for flight testing and research and development," says Taylor.

"Given the financial package on offer - a multiyear tax incentive package with a combined value in excess of $43 million - it makes sense to put the assembly plant near MTI's Utah operation, which will also now be expanded," he adds.

Emivest, and Sino Swearingen before it, produced two each of the seven-seat aircraft, although several more were on the production line when operations were halted in October 2010 as a result of the collapse of the light business jet market.

"We are fully aware that this is a tough market in which to relaunch this product," Taylor adds. "So we are doing things slowly and methodically. We have the financial backing, no debt or investment burden and many years of experience working on this aircraft and supplying 70% of its structure," he adds.

SyberJet will start taking orders for the SJ30 in the third quarter, once it has firmed up the aircraft price tag - likely to be around $7.5million. "I am confident that we have a good business model. Unlike Emivest and Sino Swearingen - who were totally reliant on outside suppliers - we are a vertically integrated company, so we don't have to produce a lot of aircraft a year in order to make a profit."