Spectrum Continues Twinjet Flight Tests

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Meanwhile, at Spanish Fork, Utah, Spectrum Aeronautical's new Spectrum 33 light twinjet is moving right along. The jet made its second and third flight tests last Thursday. The flights tested out some improvements and adjustments that were made after the first flight on Jan. 7. Test pilot Bill Davies said the 33 felt solid in longitudinal control. "We were able to conduct shallow coordinated turns with rudder input alone, and saw excellent control in all axes," he said. He also said the 33 took off in less than 800 feet, and touchdown speeds were 85 knots with 15 degrees of flaps. Takeoff acceleration and climb performance "is well beyond anything I've seen in this class of aircraft," Davies said. The key may be materials and construction. He added that "the tests are confirming that the 33 is highly stable, docile and easy to fly for single-pilot operations." The Spectrum 33 is a new light business jet built using unique carbon-graphite construction techniques that do not utilize a core material of foam or honeycomb (which is traditionally the case). The company says that the build process results in a cabin size similar to many popular eight- to nine-seat light business jets, at less than two-thirds the weight. The aircraft is designed to cruise at FL450 at speeds up to 415 knots and fly as far as 2,000 nm while using about half the fuel of comparably sized current production aircraft. FAA Type Certification of the Spectrum 33 is expected for 2007 or 2008.