Karen Walker  

Galaxy Aerospace's president and chief executive officer, Brian Barents, was witness to a major milestone in his company's history on Friday.

Barents arrived in time to see the new Galaxy business jet touch down at Farnborough to make its debut appearance at an airshow.

"This makes you realise just how much this programme is rolling along now," a smiling Barents commented as the aircraft completed a flypast before landing to join its sister business jet, the Galaxy Astra SPX.

Both aircraft are in the static display today, where the SPX will remain for the entire show.

The Galaxy, however, will return to Israel on Wednesday afternoon so it can resume its flight test programme.

The 5h 44min flight from Tel Aviv to Farnborough was the aircraft's 36th flight and takes its total flight time up to about 130h. The other aircraft now in flight test hasclocked up about 104h.  

Galaxy Aerospace says the programme is on track in terms of flights and flight hours for certification in December.  


The aircraft will receive joint certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration and the CAAI, Israel's civil aviation authority.

The flight to Farnborough was used to accumulate data at Mach 0.75 on a long flight. The Galaxy's goal is to have a M0.75 long-range cruise speed.

"We got a lot of data for that purpose," says Ephraim Ronen, manager of mechanical systems at Israel Aircraft Industries, the aircraft's manufacturer. IAI is a partner with the Pritzker Group in the Galaxy company.

Barents says he is delighted with how the Galaxy flight programme is developing. "The best surprise is that there have been no surprises," he says. "There is no question that we have a winner here."

Barents remains coy on exact numbers of sales for this super-midsize business jet, which sells for $17 million.  

He sticks to the statement that the company is on track to have a "two-year order backlog" by certification time. "We are keeping pace with that schedule," he says. 

Barents is much more outspoken, however, about how he expects the Galaxy to stand up to new competition.  

He acknowledges that Bombardier Aerospace is likely to announce plans for a new business jet in the same super-midsize category later this year, but insists the Galaxy will hold its own.


"This market niche was created when IAI announced The Galaxy in 1992," he says.  

"The new competition now simply substantiates our market research that there is a market niche here. What we are offering is value - the blend of best cabin, best performance and best operational cost."

 Most important of all, Barents adds, is that the Galaxy is first into the marketplace.  

"At Farnborough the competition will be talking about paper airplanes, while we will have iron on the ramp," he says. "We are very much looking forward to being in Europe and having the opportunity to strut our stuff."  

By late 2000, Barents expects production to be between 18 and 24 aircraft a year.

The company moved to new headquarters in Dallas, Texas, last year and is building it up into a full marketing, engineering, maintenance and support, and completion centre.

Source: Flight Daily News