Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

Adam Aircraft plans to use a US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) streamlined certification process to compress the development schedule for its M-309 piston twin.

The Denver, Colorado-based company has had its first meetings with the FAA under the agency's Certification Process Improvement (CPI) initiative, says chief executive John Knudsen.

The CPI involves more direction and feedback from the FAA early in the certification process and allows increased use of third-party FAA-designated engineering and airworthiness experts (DERs and DARs). Knudson admits Adam is already working with the FAA ahead of filing its application for a Part 23 type certificate. He adds: "It's more of a partnership in the certification process. A more open process, with free-flowing communications, better scheduling and more flexibility."

Use of DERs and DARs "will provide flexibility in scheduling tests because we won't have to wait for an FAA person", he says. Adam plans to begin production of the Burt Rutan-designed, all-composite M-309 in 2003. A proof-of-concept aircraft, built by Rutan's Scaled Composites, has been flying since March, and the first of "three or four" conforming certification-test prototypes is expected to fly within 18 months, Knudsen says.

Adam plans to unveil initial pricing for the six-seat pressurised twin this month. Knudsen says the greatest interest in the aircraft is from operators of the Cessna 337 Skymaster, as they are already familiar with the advantages offered by the M-309's centreline-thrust layout.

Source: Flight International