Fairchild Aerospace has completed a prototype of its Envoy 3 business aircraft, which it plans to display at the Paris air show in June.

A Fairchild Dornier 328 regional turboprop has been fitted with a 12-passenger executive interior to demonstrate the cabin environment in the Envoy 3 corporate version of the company's 328JET regional jet. Modification was performed by Fairchild at its base in San Antonio, Texas, where corporate versions of the 32-seat 328JET and new 70-seat 728JET regional jets will be completed.

Executive vice-president Barry Eccleston says Fairchild has firm orders for the Envoy 7 corporate version of the 728JET and orders for the Envoy 3 in corporate shuttle configuration - a role already performed by the turboprop 328 - but not yet as an executive jet .

The Envoy 3 costs $13 million, the price of a mid-sized jet, but has a cabin size similar to that of large business jets costing twice as much, says Eccleston. Range is less, but will be extended to 3,700km (2,000nm), from the basic 328JET's 1,700km, by adding fuel tanks.

The Envoy 7, which is being offered at an introductory price of $28.5 million, "has a cabin that is larger than the Gulfstream V's, but smaller than the Boeing Business Jet's", says Eccleston, noting that both long-range business jets cost around $40 million. Range of the Envoy 7 will be increased to 7,770km with extra tanks.

Certification of the 328JET is due in June. Fairchild is to complete the first Envoy 3 in time for the National Business Aviation Association convention in October. The 728JET is due for certification in 2002. The Envoy 7 will be available soon after the basic version.

Source: Flight International