Second SPn to fly in June as manufacturer gears up for production next year

Grob Aerospace will fly its second SPn utility jet in June as exclusive distributor Execujet Aviation steps up efforts to market the all-composite aircraft to the business aviation community with the launch of a VIP interior.

The Mindelheim, Bavaria-based manufacturer, which unveiled the eight-seat twinjet at last year’s Paris air show, is aiming for European and US certification in the second quarter of 2007. The first prototype began flight testing in July and by the end of March had made 110 flights totalling 130h, says chief operating officer Dr Andreas Strohmayer.

Aircraft number two will be on indoor display at next month’s European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva, where Execujet will also reveal a full-scale mock-up of the SPn’s VIP cabin concept, by design house Rücker, which will be offered alongside a utility interior.

The first series-production SPn – with a cabin installed – will join the flight-test programme in the first quarter of next year and will be kept as a demonstration aircraft.

Although Grob plans to ramp up production to 40 aircraft a year from 2009, Execujet will not reveal order numbers for the $7 million jet, but marketing director Peter Smales says there has been strong interest from business and general aviation. “It is an aircraft that can play in a lot of sectors, from medevac to owner-pilots, charter to special mission,” he says. The company expects to sell more than 400 aircraft over 10 years.

Execujet hopes to finalise plans for selling the SPn in North America, which it expects to be the biggest market for the Williams FJ44-3A-powered aircraft, and make an announcement at October’s National Business Aviation Association convention.

Once the SPn is in production, Grob will turn to certificating the four-seat G-140 Ranger single turboprop, which recently completed high-speed testing.


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Source: Flight International