Advanced Aerodynamics & Structures (AASI) plans to certificate its Jetcruzer 500 turboprop to US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) single-engine Part 135 rules in an effort to increase the market share of its delayed six-seat pusher.

AASI says the "inexpensive add-on certification" Part 135 could boost overall sales by "a shade over 20%" by increasing the commercial appeal of the Jetcruzer. The company says the Part 135 target will not add further hold-ups to the baseline type certificate programme which is now almost a year behind its previous predictions. AASI says there will be no extra delay "because it will be added after the current amendment is received".

The basic Jetcruzer 500 type certificate and first deliveries are due for completion "before the end of the second quarter 2000". Certification was originally targeted for 1998, but slipped into late 1999 after AASI opted to complete clearance with several systems, such as anti-icing and autopilot, that would otherwise have required supplementary certification.

Further problems with vendors, aerodynamic refinements and relocation to its new factory in Long Beach, California, also added to the delay.

The move to Part 135 will require the addition of another alternator, full three-axis coupled autopilot, a back-up artificial horizon and more pilot training. Clearance to this new level will allow the Jetcruzer 500 to be used for commercial operations at night and under instrument flight rules, to carry freight or provide air ambulance, short-haul charter or commuter services. The second test aircraft, 002, meanwhile, has completed around 150h of flight tests and will be joined shortly by 003 which will be used to prove the high altitude capabilities of the largely composite structure.

Source: Flight International