New light jet developer Spectrum Aeronautical has formed a European subsidiary to help develop the market for small business jets. Luxembourg-based Spectrum Aviation Europe will eventually be responsible for sales and support of the all-composite Spectrum 33 light jet once it is certificated in 2007-8.

Initially the subsidiary’s role will be to “evangelise” Europe on the concept of the jet air-taxi now emerging in the USA, says Spectrum chairman Linden Blue. “There is a five- to seven-year gap between Europe and the USA. I think we can reduce that. Europe is not thinking about the air-taxi revolution, but I think it will happen there.”

Although offering light-jet performance and cabin size, the Spectrum 33 will be lighter and cheaper than competitors like the Cessna Citation CJ2, with a maximum take-off weight of just 3,310kg (7,300lb) and $3.65 million pricetag. Powered by two Williams FJ33s, cruise speed will be 415kt (770km/h), ceiling 45,000ft (13,700m) and range 3,700km (2,000nm), Spectrum says.

Claims for the aircraft are based on an ultra-lightweight carbonfibre composite airframe produced using an automated process called FibeX, which eliminates the honeycomb core normally required. The one-piece fuselage structure uses isogrid stiffening and weighs 140kg, says Blue, while the one-piece wing has integral sine-wave spars and weighs 138kg.

“The aircraft is the same size as the CJ2, but half the weight,” says Blue. Because of the Spectrum 33’s smaller engines, fuel consumption in a 407kt cruise will be 211kg/h compared with 484kg for the Citation, he says, adding: “Cutting the fuel and operating cost in 
half will enable a new mode of transport.”

Source: Flight International