SJ30 Sets Records Crossing The Pond

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Determined to get to Farnborough, England, for the big European air show this week, Sino Swearingen fueled up its new SJ30 light jet in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday, made a quick fuel stop in Goose Bay, Labrador, then zipped on across the North Atlantic. It was the first time a "VLJ" (the jet can seat one pilot, plus six passengers) made the ocean crossing nonstop, the company said (some may argue the VLJ classification). Total flight time from Texas was 10 hours and 24 minutes, covering 4,600 nm. Average ground speed was 442 knots. Altitudes ranged from 41,000 to 47,000 feet, but cabin altitudes never exceeded 1,000 feet, the company said. That low cabin pressure makes a difference, says John Siemens, pilot in command on the flight. "I've flown many international trips before in other business jets, but never have I arrived as relaxed and less fatigued as I did on this trip. ...There is a huge difference in sitting for 10 and a half hours in a typical 8,000 to 9,000 foot cabin altitude environment, compared to the SJ30's 1,000-foot cabin altitude." The flight also set several speed and range records, including fastest time from San Antonio to Goose Bay and from San Antonio to Farnborough. The flight records will be made official by the National Aeronautic Association within a month, the company said.