VisionAire flew its Vantage for the first time on 16 November

VisionAire has begun flight-testing its single-engined Vantage business jet with a first flight on 16 November at Scaled Composites in Mojave, California. Test pilot and director of operations at Scaled Composites, Doug Shane, says that the aircraft was taken to 10,000ft (3,200m) and "-performed as well as we all were confident it would".

Phase one of the $50 million test and certification programme involves 40 flights of the proof-of-concept vehicle: phase two, which starts in mid-1997, will see the introduction of four more aircraft. US certification is expected in the final quarter of 1998, by which time six aircraft will be ready for delivery. VisionAire plans to take production to 115 a year by 2003.

Jim Rice, chairman and chief executive of VisionAire, says that the company has 52 firm, "non-cancellable" orders for the $1.65 million aircraft. Composite structures for the Vantage will be produced at a new Scaled Composites factory at Montrose, Colorado. Burt Rutan, president of Scaled Composites, says that the move to Colorado will give a 12% operating advantage over the firm's higher-cost base in Mojave, California.

VisionAire showed a Vantage cabin mock-up. Also on display was a mock-up of Century Aerospace's $1.85 million Century Jet single-engined business jet. The Albuqueque, New Mexico, firm is aiming for first flight "within about a year".

Source: Flight International