...First In 35 Years?

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Comfort said the accomplishment is particularly noteworthy because Sino Swearingen is a new company and, as such, is the first to bring a clean-slate design through the certification process in 35 years. The company claims the six-passenger (single-pilot) aircraft has a range of 2,500 nm at 447 KTAS (514 mph). It has a high-speed cruise of 486 KTAS (560 mph.) It also has a 12-psi cabin pressurization system that will maintain sea-level air pressure up to 41,000 feet. Comfort said the company's certification efforts accelerated dramatically with the involvement, 30 months ago, of new CEO Dr. Carl Chen and Alfred Baumbusch, senior VP of operations. The company has had its share of challenges along the way, including the loss of a test aircraft in 2003 that killed chief test pilot Carroll Beeler. And while the celebration over the TIAs continues, so does the company's effort to extract even more concessions from West Virginia to prop up its facility there. Sino Swearingen is having trouble retaining employees because of the hot real-estate market in the Martinsburg, W. Va. area. The company wants the state to pick up half of the first six months of wages and $15,000 in moving expenses for new employees at the Martinsburg plant, which makes wings and fuselages. A spokesman for West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin told the Charleston Gazette that the state is interested in talking to the company about the wage and expense subsidies.