Sport-Jet To Soldier On

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The folks from Excel Jet in Colorado planned to fly their Sport-Jet at Oshkosh for the first time this week, but instead they were telling the story of how the prototype cartwheeled down the runway after apparently hitting wake turbulence on takeoff, proving the hardiness of the cabin. Test pilot James Stewart (who tells his story in today's AVweb audio news) and mechanic John Welty survived without injury, and the company brought the damaged cabin to the show, minus its wings, tail and nosecone, and put it on display. Other than a few scratches, and a few square feet of sod jammed into the underbelly (visible thanks to mirrors laid on the Oshkosh grass), the cabin looks good to go. The aircraft was in late flight tests. It had proved that it could meet 95 percent of its projected performance parameters, the company said, and they already are at work on copy number two. Sport-Jet will sell for about $1.2 million, cruise at 340 knots at 25,000 feet, and can carry four people. Certification is still projected for the end of 2008. AVweb's Monday podcast will feature an interview with test pilot Stewart.