Kate Sarsfield/LONDON

VisionAire is seeking to drive down development costs of its $2.2 million Vantage single-engine business jet by more than 30% through a number of "money and time saving measures".

The key initiative for the Chesterfield, Missouri-based company is to implement design changes into the proof of concept (PoC) aircraft. The changes result from last year's six-month design review to address the aircraft's handling and weight characteristics. VisionAire is talking to Scaled Composites about the work.

Mark Jones, VisionAire director of business development, says: "Until now we have been looking for investment of around $130 million to fund the programme. By incorporating the design changes into the original [PoC] aircraft, we shall not have to build a second test article, which will reduce programme costs. If everything goes ahead as planned, the projected funding costs could be less than $90 million."

Details of terms under discussion with Mojave, California-based design and prototyping house Scaled Composites have not been disclosed. If an agreement is reached, Scaled Composites would incorporate structural modifications into the PoC. These will include stretching the fuselage by up to 150mm (5.9in), lowering the wing by 150mm and reducing the forward sweep from 10í to 6í, increasing the vertical tail size and shifting the horizontal tail.

"We hope to have the existing flight test article modified so the exterior mould line matches the production aircraft," says Jones.

The first of three conforming prototypes are to fly in the "second half" of next year, with certification and first deliveries planned for late 2002 or early 2003.

VisionAire plans to establish international service centres, including in Europe and Asia.

Source: Flight International