Personal Jet Engine In Development

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So-called personal jet manufacturers may soon have another power option for their aircraft. Price Induction, of Tarnos, France, has reportedly test run its DGEN380 turbofan engine, which is designed specifically for aircraft weighing as little as 1,650 lbs. Company President Bernard Etcheparre told AVweb Sunday the engine was run on the bench for the first time three weeks ago. We target a certification type CS-E for the end of 2008, meaning a first flight around the beginning of 2008," Etchebarre said in an email. "But this phase is a complex period and you have to be conscious of the difficulties [in following] this timing." The engine puts out about 600 lbs. of thrust (most current VLJ engines are 1,100 lbs. and up) and weighs just 150 lbs. (dry but including the accessories needed to run it). According to the company Web site, the engine is designed to fit adaptations of existing airframes and its performance is optimized for 10,000 to 12,000 feet at a speed of about 235 knots. This, according to the company, puts jet power within reach of about 50 GA manufacturers that might not have considered it as an option. The company also envisions clean sheet designs ranging from a two-seat single-engine aircraft to six-place three-holer weighing up to 5,500 lbs. It sees the ideal application as a four or five-place (most likely pressurized) twin weighing about 3,500 lbs. that will cruise at 235 knots at 25,000 feet with a range of about 1,000 nm on about 160 gallons of fuel. The test run took place about a year later than the company had hoped.