Archedyne has redesigned its Amjet 400 single-engined amphibian business aircraft, changing the name, the number of engines and fuselage length.
Now dubbed the Nautic Air 450, the aircraft will be powered by two Williams FJX-2s when they enter the market next year, and its 12.2m (40ft) fuselage has been extended by 1.5m to allow seating for two extra passengers.
"We are switching the single AlliedSignal TFE731-20 turbofan for two FJX-2s without suffering a weight or a cost penalty," says Archedyne chief executive Dr Leonard Gioia. "With virtually two engines for the price of one, we also get 950lb [4.2kN] more thrust."
The company, based in Merritt Island, Florida, formerly known as Amjet, will also extend the Nautic Air's range from 2,200km (1,200nm) to 3,330km. "The single-pilot, eight-seat passenger aircraft is in a class of its own," says Gioia. "There is nothing else like it - we now have to find the money to build it."
Archedyne says that it is close to securing about $50 million - enough to build the proof of concept aircraft, which it plans to manufacture within six months of the start of the programme. "We need around $200 million to fund the entire programme and get the first production aircraft out of the door," says Gioia.
The company hopes to make a profit by the 120th aircraft sold. "We have to sell 17 aircraft a year over seven years to break even," explains Gioia.
Archedyne continues to eye potential production bases in the region, citing the former 8,360m2 (90,000ft2) Boeing missile factory in Brevard County, Florida, a possible choice.
The new aircraft will be priced at between $4 million and $4.2 million - double the cost of the original single-engined Amjet 400.
Source: Flight International