...Development 'Plugging Along'...

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While the VLJ market generated a lot of excitement at last year's AirVenture, the various companies are having search for "news" to talk about this year. Eclipse's news conference was called to unveil the four interior design schemes being offered on the 500. Adam Aircraft, which stole last year's show by flying the prototype A700 to Oshkosh only a few days after its first flight, brought the same airplane this year, although it now has an interior and some spiffy paint. It's also sporting a new price tag that pushes it above the $2 million threshold to $2.1 million. Adam spokesman John Hamilton said the addition of weather and traffic detection equipment as standard equipment (stuff he says most customers would order anyway) will help mitigate the $135,000 price hike, which takes effect after Oshkosh. Over at Cessna, spokeswoman Jessica Myers told AVweb development of the Mustang VLJ "is just plugging along. Everything is on schedule." Cessna is testing the PWC 615F (a slightly larger version of the engine that will power Eclipse) on a CJ1, the first time PWC has let a customer do the initial testing on a new design. Myers said the engine is performing well after 80 hours of testing and, with tooling and parts production for the airframe under way, everything looks set for a first flight in 2005. Development of Diamond's D-Jet continues on schedule according to an on-site rep. That means first flight sometime in 2005 and certification in 2006.