Maverick Jets has selected the Williams International FJ33 small turbofan to power its Leader kit-built personal jet. The 1,100lb-thrust (4.9kN), digitally controlled FJ33 replaces the 750lb-thrust MC-750 turbojet, a Maverick-modified General Electric T58 turboshaft, which initially powered the all-composite five- to seven-seat twinjet.

Williams is scheduled to deliver the first engines in May, and Melbourne, Florida-based Maverick plans to fly the first FJ33-powered Leader in June. Engine deliveries to kit builders are expected to begin in the fourth quarter. The FJ33-powered Leader costs $1.25 million, including engines and avionics - an increase of less than $300,000 over the MC-750-powered aircraft.

Maverick says it is shipping one kit a week to centres in Fort Worth, Texas, and the republic of Georgia where buyers are provided assistance in completing their kits. The company is looking at establishing a "build assist" centre in Latin America. The kit takes about nine months to complete, says Maverick, which is planning to push output up to five a month.

The company says it is continuing to work towards certification of a derivative of the Leader, with the goal of being first to market with a factory-completed personal jet. Eclipse Aviation and Safire Aircraft plan to certificate their personal jets by early 2006.

Source: Flight International