First Sport-Jet Ready For Roll-Out

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The first Excel Sport-Jet has had its final coat of paint and will be ready for taxi and flight testing by the end of this week, the company said yesterday. "We expect to start these [tests] shortly," designer Bob Bornhofen said. That would put the four-seat Sport Jet at the front of the pack of new single-engine very light jets. The prototype is fitted with a T-58 engine, though the production model will fly with a Williams FJ33-4A. The Williams engine is on order but not expected to be available until this fall. So far, the engine on the prototype has been test-run, and avionics and control systems are installed and have been checked. The jet so far is weighing in at lower than its projected empty weight, the company said, which is good news for its performance projections. The Sport-Jet is expected to sell for around $1 million. The project has been 95 percent funded by Bornhofen, who also developed the Maverick Twinjet that has been flying since 2000.