VLJ start-up completes first flight of Stratos 714

A US-based start-up has announced completing first flight of the Stratos 714 very light jet on 21 November in Redmond, Oregon, a key milestone after an extended, five-year development process.

The four-seat proof-of-concept jet’s debut in flight was brief. Pilot David Morss landed about 10min after take-off, flying up to 3,700ft above ground level with a top speed of 128kt, according to Stratos. Morss reported feeling “satisfied” with the overall handling of the single-engined jet, the company adds.

“After years of development, the first flight was a very exciting event for the whole team” said Michael Lemaire, chief executive of Stratos Aircraft.

The privately funded project will proceed with a test campaign to clear the ambitious flight envelope of the Stratos 714. The aircraft was decided to achieve a top speed of Mach 0.7 with one engine and four passengers, with the three numerals forming the aircraft’s designation. The design goal also includes a range of 1,500nm. If the Stratos 714 succeeds, it will have more than 100kt more speed and 300nm more range than the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet.

But the pace of the Stratos development schedule is constrained by available financing. The company launched flight testing of a proof-of-concept aircraft, hoping it smooths the process to launch certification testing. More investment is required to transition from flight test of the proof-of-concept to a production conforming vehicle. Stratos is not taking deposits or accepting orders, but is financing development through private investment.

“We could shave off a considerable amount of certification time and start producing finished aircraft with additional investment, of course,” Lemaire adds.