Excel-Jet is to produce its Sport-Jet single-engined very-light jet (VLJ) in Guthrie, Oklahoma, after securing a $3-5 million package of incentives from local and state governments. It plans to complete and fly its proof-of-concept (PoC) Sport-Jet at Colorado Springs before moving to Guthrie next year.


The PoC aircraft is essentially complete, says Excel-Jet president Bob Bornhofen. Ground testing was accomplished with a General Electric T58 engine installed, and the aircraft is now being modified to accept the Williams FJ33-4A turbofan planned for the production Sport-Jet. Originally scheduled for the end of 2004, first flight is now expected within three months.

After initial flights, the aircraft will be flown to Guthrie to complete testing, says Bornhofen. The Sport-Jet certification effort is due get under way late in the first quarter of next year, with US approval expected to take two years, he says, adding that suppliers have yet to be selected for the wing, fuselage and tail subassemblies to be assembled by Excel-Jet in Guthrie.

Bornhofen says Excel-Jet has a commitment from investors to fund the programme through to certification, depending on a successful first flight of the PoC aircraft. The five-seat metal-and-composite Sport-Jet will have a 340kt (630km/h) cruise speed at 25,000ft (11,300m), and will carry four people 1,670km (900nm).


Source: Flight International