Amjet is hoping to secure around $10 million of financing within six months, enabling the company to start prototype production of its Amjet 400 six-seat, single-engined amphibious aircraft. "Once we have the first $10 million in place we will start building the Amjet 400 prototype immediately - we are ready to go," says Amjet chief executive Dr Leonard Gioia.

The Merritt Island, Florida-based company is seeking about $100 million of finance to take the aircraft through certification, scheduled by 2003. "We have received a lot of interest from private investors in the US, the Middle East and India, who believe there is an enormous market for our product," says Gioia.

Amjet is eyeing potential production sites in Florida, including the City of Melbourne Airport, and the former Boeing missile factory in Brevard County. "Florida is keen to help us find the necessary funds, as long as we keep the production base in the area," he says.

The all-composite aircraft will be powered by a single 3,650lb (16.2kN)-thrust AlliedSignal TFE731-20 turbofan, offering a 4,000kg (8,700lb) maximum take-off weight. It will have a maximum cruise speed of 460kt (850km/h) and a maximum altitude of 41,000ft (12,500m). Gioia says the key to its success is its forward swept wing and its radical tunnel hull, designed to eliminate drag. "The Amjet will have all the advantages of a business jet, but will be capable of landing on water," he says.

Aircraft designer Roy LoPresti, who has undertaken preliminary design, performance and sizing studies on the aircraft, will build the two prototypes from his Vero Beach, Florida site.

The Amjet 400 will be priced at between $2 million and $2.5 million and will be targeted at the business and leisure markets in North and South America, the Middle East and Asia. "We are going after the same market as the Century Aerospace Century Jet and the Visionaire Vantage ", says Gioia.

Source: Flight International