"Poor Man's Jet" Flies

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The maiden flight of the Aerocomp Comp Air kit jet took place at Merritt Island Airport in Florida on Tuesday. Dubbed the "poor man's jet" (for those poor enough to have about $600,000 to spend) the single-engine composite plane was apparently docile and predictable in flight on Tuesday and a second hop on Wednesday. In an unusual (and somewhat refreshing) move, the company refused to take money from customers until after the first flight. Now, according to the company Web site, prospective owners are ringing the phone off the hook trying to get an early position. Well, Aerocomp still isn't taking any money. It wants to get the initial flight tests over with and will start booking orders on Sept. 1. It predicts it will be able to build a kit every six weeks at first and ramp up to one a month. The $399,900 tag includes the basic kit (including engine) to build an eight-place pressurized jet that will go about 320 knots and cover 1,000 miles on a tank of Jet A. Avionics and other gear will put the finished cost in the $550,000 to $600,000 range