Spectrum Aeronautical roared into NBAA today and announced its new mid-size jet, the Freedom S-40 and renamed its Spectrum 33 light jet as the Independence S-33. The GE Honda HF120 engine will power the new aircraft.  Vice-president Austin Blue says: “We’re feeling very good. We have two wonderful products, which we expect will be well received.” According to Blue, the names refer to the freedom from using airlines and the independence this gives to business fliers.

The mid-size Freedom is considerably larger than the Independence, with a “stand-up” cabin made using carbonfibre/epoxy.  The company says that this will significantly reduce operating costs, particularly fuel consumption. With a cruise speed of 435kt (800km/h), the aircraft can fly at 45,000ft (13,700m) for 2,200nm (4,000km) using less fuel than any other comparably sized aircraft.  Spectrum aims for certification and entry into service in 2010.   

The aircraft is the launch customer for GE Honda's new 2,000lb-thrust (9kN) turbofan engine, which is being designed and tested for small jet engines to address fuel efficiency, durability, noise levels and emissions.  Engine certification is set for 2009., Spectrum managing director Linden Blue says: "GE and Honda represent experience, integrity and finesse." Gary Leonard, president of GE Honda, adds: “We are fully focused on introducing new propulsion technologies that will raise the bar for this segment of aviation.  We are pleased to be working with Spectrum and believe that the Freedom has a bright future.”    

The announcement strikes a welcome note for Spectrum. Earlier this year the company lost two valued members of its team when its test pilots died in a crash that wrecked the only prototype of its earlier model the Spectrum 33. Blue says: “It has been a difficult few months, but our whole team is excited to get on with our work.”

Source: Flight Daily News