Sport-Jet Moving to Oklahoma

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Excel-Jet, which has been working to develop its single-engine Sport-Jet in Colorado Springs, Colo., since 2002, announced on Monday that it will be moving to Guthrie, Okla., in a deal that will pump up to $5 million in financing into the company. "We've completed negotiations and Excel-Jet will be relocating its facility to Guthrie within 90 to 120 days," said company President and designer Bob Bornhofen in a news release on Tuesday. The money was put together from local and state sources by the Guthrie Industrial Development Authority. It will be enough to bring the Sport-Jet well into the flight-test phase and start certification work next year. Excel-Jet will join two other aviation companies at the Guthrie Edmond Airport -- Zivko Aeronautics, builder of the popular Edge 540 aerobatic airplane, and Spirit Wing Aviation Services, which equips Lear Series 20 jets with new Williams FJ44 turbofans.

Work is underway to extend runways and improve the approach navigation facilities at the airport. "Everyone in the city and airport share the same entrepreneurial attitude and business goals that we have," said Bornhofen. "We are excited about the synergy and potential at Guthrie." The Sport-Jet is a five-seat, all-glass aircraft aimed at the GA pilot, and will sell for about $1 million. Once the FJ33 engine is integrated into the Sport-Jet, it will fly to its new home in Guthrie to complete the pre-certification flight-testing. "We really did not want to start the extensive flight testing program here and then move in mid-stream so we have been delaying this phase until we found a permanent home," Bornhofen said.