Grob Aerospace is planning a family of business jets in the Part 23 commuter category to expand its share of this growing sector. The move comes as the Switzerland-headquartered manufacturer moves to establish completion centres for its SPn light jet in Altenrhein, Switzerland and Portsmouth, New Hampshire - home of its largest fleet customer, fractional operator PlaneSense.

A source close to the company says the next family member will be a stretched version of the SPn, for which Grob has completed preliminary studies. The common selling point for the family, the source says, will be its short-field capability and "robust" all-composite design, which will appeal to operators in developing markets and those requiring versatile and "rugged" applications.

Certification of the SPn is expected at the end of the second quarter of 2008, around nine months later than planned due to the crash of the second prototype in November 2006. A further delay of around three months to first flight of the third prototype - now scheduled by year-end - has prompted Grob to review whether certification could slip again.

Source: Flight International