A whole host of offerings should appeal to the business aviation user at the smaller end of the market. Phil Nasskau reports on some of the smaller kids on the block and finds they have experienced mixed fortunes since last September’s NBAA show in Dallas.

ATG Javelin
The Javelin has been up for sale since March, though a buyer doesn’t seem forthcoming. It was an optimistic project at best, aimed at a very narrow sector of the VLJ/Personal Jet market, though ATG did claim to hold deposits for 157 of the pocket jet fighter. In 2007 ATG and partner IAI engaged Citigroup to help raise $200m for certification financing. But by December 18 the company had laid off its workforce and had hoped that IAI would bail it out.

Adam Aircraft
Adam Aircraft also struggled with financing, and it too laid off its entire 650-strong work force at the end of February 2008 when it suspended operations and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, in April private equity start-up AAI Acquisitions bought the assets for a mere $10m.  This included prototype A700s, the type certificate for the A500 as well as production tooling and other equipment. Certification of the A700 was on track for some time in 2008.

Farnborough Aircraft Kestrel
The Kestrel has had its battles so far, and since last year has carried on with flight testing. However, the biggest hurdle the company still faces is to get the certification funded. It was in negotiations with GAMCO, but these have now fallen through.  However, the company says it is in negotiations with other investors.

Epic Aircraft
Following an investment from Indian Kingfisher entrepreneur Vijay Mallya the Epic assault on the VLJ and single engine turboprop market is still aggressive. The company has flown its 17th LT kit-built turboprop, and has flown more than 250 hours of its single-engine Victory jet. Chief executive Rick Schrameck says: “The programme definition has taken longer than I’m happy with because of the complexity of Vijay Mallya, Epic Aircraft and EADS.”

Sino Swearingen
The manufacturer of the SJ30 light jet has struggled with deliveries and financing. It has taken some twenty years to get the SJ30 to certification, and at NBAA last year it was announced that ACQ Capital and Action Aviation were taking a controlling stake in the company. But by the end of January the sale was still only nearing completion. At the end of April it was believed that ACQ’s stake was being sold to Emirates Investment Developments. ACQ has allegedly had to pull out because of its exposure to the US sub-prime mortgage market. But the aircraft is here at EBACE and ready to move on.

Diamond’s D-Jet will be powered by a 1,900lb (8.5kN) Williams FJ33-4A-19 instead of the original 1,564lb from the FJ33-15. However, added performance comes at the expense of a half-year or more slip in initial deliveries. Diamond president Peter Maurer says the FJ33-19 “is the perfect match” and will offer a “potential performance upgrade path for delivered aircraft that the current engine just doesn’t allow.” MSN3 flew for the first time on April 14.

Spectrum Aeronautical
In March it clinched a “large” undisclosed order from US management company Jetpool for both of its offerings – the S-40 Freedom mid-size jet and the S-33 Independence light jet. First flight of the S-40 is still expected early next year and certification earmarked for 2010.

Quest Aircraft flew its second production Kodiak aircraft in November last year and in late January delivered the first customer aircraft to Spirit Air, the first customer to pay a deposit back in May 2005. There are presently two Kodiaks in customer service - the second was delivered just a few days after the first to Spokane Turbine Center. The Kodiak is a single engine STOL turboprop rival to the Cessna Caravan.

Piper’s PiperJet has had its Williams FJ44-3AP mounted and unmounted for testing, while delivery is now pushed back to 2011.  The company is sill assessing the final assembly location.

Cirrus’ The-Jet has no public certification schedule – although first flight is thought to be no more than two-months away. The wing and tail have been attached to an aerodynamically conforming prototype, as well as fitting of the Williams FJ44-4A-19 engine.

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More news from EBACE 2008


Source: Flight Daily News