Start-up manufacturer Spectrum Aeronautical's Spectrum 33 light business jet made its first flight on Saturday.

The nine-seater has a "next-generation", carbon-graphite lightweight hull, which allows it to fly up to 3,700km (2,000nm) at a cruise speed of 415kt (770km/h), the company says.

Spectrum 33 TNThe prototype (pictured left) took off from Springville-Spanish Fork airport, around 13km (8 miles) south east of Provo, Utah, using 230m (750ft) of the runway for take-off before repositioning to Provo airport where the aircraft will be based for further tests.

William Davies, Spectrum’s chief of flight test, says: "The acceleration and climb performance of the 33 is remarkable. It has excellent takeoff and landing characteristics.” He says the aircraft performed as expected, but that pitch control was not optimum at higher speed.

Flight tests will resume late this month, Davies says. Once comprehensive testing of the current proof-of-concept aircraft is complete, the company will freeze the design and build a production-conforming flight test aircraft to be used for US Federal Aviation Administration certification, slated for late 2007 or in 2008.

The aircraft was built by a Spectrum Aeronautical and Rocky Mountain Composites (RMC) joint design team at RMC’s plant at Springville-Spanish Fork airport.

Source: Flight International