SJ30 Management Shakeup, As Jet Passes Ice Test

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Sino Swearingen President Carl Chen, who had been credited with helping to bring the SJ30 small business jet quickly to FAA certification, has left the company. The company announced his departure last Thursday, saying he had left to "pursue other interests." But according to the San Antonio Express-News, Chen has filed suit against the company, saying he was fired due to political pressure from Taiwan. He is seeking $300,000 in back pay and benefits. Swearingen is on the verge of expanding its manufacturing capacity as it begins to fill almost 300 orders for the SJ30. Meanwhile, the bizjet has completed its required flight test in actual icing conditions, the company said this week. The test was done last Wednesday in Provo, Utah. The jet had to fly in a holding pattern for 45 minutes in actual maximum continuous icing conditions. The approval flight included another hour of flying in intermittent icing conditions, which resulted in a build-up of over 4 inches of ice on unprotected areas of the aircraft. "The flight characteristics and handling qualities were very good with this residual ice accumulation," said test pilot John Siemens. The SJ30 is equipped with electrically heated windshields and uses engine bleed-air heat to anti-ice the wings and engines. Pneumatic boots de-ice the horizontal tail. The test is one of two that remained for completion when the jet got its FAA Type Certificate last October. The second test is the approval of the airplane's interior. The SJ30 carries up to seven seats and is certified for single-pilot operations.