VLJs Planned Maneuvers For 2006

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The day of reckoning is near for many very-light-jet projects that have been in the works for years now ... for many, that day could come in 2006. Eclipse says it's expecting FAA certification in March but that a supplier's certification trouble will likely push deliveries to second quarter 2006. Cessna plans to certify and deliver the Mustang in the fourth quarter of '06. Both companies have flight-test programs well underway. Adam Aircraft, which has had its prototype jet in the air for a while, now is taxi-testing its second A700, and expects to start flying it any day. The company is hoping for certification by fourth quarter of 2006, spokeswoman Shelly Simi told AVweb last week. One wildcard may be Epic Jet. Epic Jet has designs to beat them all. Last July at Oshkosh, Founder Rick Schrameck unveiled a mock-up of his company's seven-seat jet and said, "The speed at which we move, I think we can go from the late announcement to actually being what we believe will be the first light jet that will be delivered to a customer, period."

Adam expects that its experience getting the similar A500 piston twin through the certification process will help create an accelerated flow for certification of the A700. "We anticipate everything moving along smoothly," Simi said. Aviation Technology Group (ATG) flew its two-seater for the first time in October, and expects deliveries to start in 2008. Excel Jet recently announced it is moving its operation from Colorado to Oklahoma, where flight testing will soon get underway on its single-engine Sport Jet. "We have completed all the preliminary testing with an interim engine and are now converting the aircraft to accept the FJ33 engine," company founder Bob Bornhofen told AVweb last week. "We expect to start the certification process in about 90 days time and it will probably take 20 months from this point." Diamond has said it expects to fly its single-engine D-Jet this year.