Adam Leads Mini-Jet Race

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The last major company to enter the mini-jet race appears on track to be the first to deliver one. Adam Aircraft's A700 twin jet flew for the first time on Sunday and its first cross-country flight might be to EAA AirVenture 2003. "We hope to have it here at the end of the week," President Rick Adam told a news conference at Adam's display area Tuesday. The main focus of the conference was on the progress of the six-place A500 push-pull piston twin (which is proceeding according to plan and should be in customers' hands later this year) but Adam's almost-offhand reference to the jet project quickly dominated the questioning by reporters. Adam said the jet, which was conceived barely 16 months ago and announced last September, flew predictably in its initial flight. Cessna hasn't built a Mustang yet and Eclipse's test plane was damaged last week in a gear mishap. Further flights for Adam's jet are scheduled for the balance of the week and it's hoped the FAA will permit the hop to Oshkosh. Adam said the jet shares about 80 percent of the same (and already well-tested components) of the piston model and that should speed up testing and development. Add to that the off-the-shelf availability of the already-certified Williams FJ-33 engines and Adam is predicting a first delivery of the jet by the end of 2004. But don't bother lining up to put a deposit on one. Adam said the company isn't taking orders on the $1.9 million jet until development is complete. He said his firm is well-financed thanks to an undisclosed investment by New York bank Goldman and Sachs earlier this year and doesn't need deposit money to keep working on the A700.