Jetcruzer Resurfaces As Kit Jet

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Aircraft designs may come and go but the dreams that drive them never seem to fade away. Remember the Jetcruzer? Investors sunk upwards of $100 million in the development of the single-engine turboprop pusher that looked like a sure-bet aircraft for the new millenium during the salad days of the late 1990s. Those investors saw all that money fly away when the whole program was auctioned off for just $125,000 a little more than a year ago. Well, the Jetcruzer is back, but this time as either a single or a twin jet kit that will cost the builder somewhere around $800,000. "We have a lot of people interested in it," said Michael Spearman, director of business development for the new company. Spearman, who runs a Houston-based group of companies that makes medical equipment, said he was the top bidder in the auction but it took about a year to sort out the details with the former owner, the Mooney Aerospace Group. He wouldn’t disclose the final price, saying only that he got "a real bargain" on the package. "We’ve only had it for about six weeks," said Spearman "It" consists of all the tools, molds, drawings, engineering data and everything else needed to bring a sophisticated airplane to the brink of certification. Since the next-generation Jetcruzer won’t need that horrendously expensive piece of paper, development of the new models should go quickly because of all the work that has already been done. Other than the engines (which Spearman said owners can pick up used for a fraction of the new price), the only significant change will be an all-composite wing using the same airfoil as the original metal wing. Spearman said turning the Jetcruzer into an actual jet was the evolution needed to save it as a certified design but the costs would have been prohibitive. He said the experimental version will appeal to those in the personal jet market who just want something faster and more capable than the complex singles and twins they already own.