Extra Hopes Timing Is Right For New Turboprop

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Extra Aircraft is gambling that the million dollar mini-jet is nothing more than a "great dream." CEO Ken Keith told AVweb that he thinks Eclipse Aircraft personal jet will end up costing much more than the company is currently predicting. That, he says, will leave room in the market for the Extra EA 500, a $1.545 million, six-place single turboprop developed in Germany. So far, there are just five orders for the aircraft, something Keith frankly told a Sun ‘n Fun news conference that he hopes to improve upon at the show. Keith told a news conference at Sun ‘n Fun Tuesday that European certification is expected in May followed about a month later by the FAA nod. Keith said the great advantage the Extra has over Eclipse and several other purportedly low-priced jets is that it’s almost ready to go. "It’s real," he said. Keith said the all-composite 500 delivers the technological advances creeping into the light aircraft market in a larger, more capable platform . The 500 is powered by a 450-shp Rolls Royce engine and will be outfitted with Honeywell’s three-screen Apex Avionics Suite. It has a 1,600 nm range and cruises at 225 knots. Escrowed deposits of $50,000 ($25,000 now and $25,000 on certification) will reserve one and another $100,000 is due when construction of each customer’s aircraft begins. Keith said they won’t start building airplanes until they’re sure the project is economically viable.