Spectrum 33 Twinjet: More Test Flights

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Spectrum Aeronautical’s new Spectrum 33 light twinjet made two more test hops last week, following its early-January maiden flight. The two most recent flights together totaled less than an hour but the weather wasn't cooperating: The day began with steady rain, 500-foot ceilings and a dropping barometer. Still, Bill Davies, Spectrum’s veteran chief test pilot, and Ian Hollingsworth, serving as second-in-command, waited it out long enough to accomplish their mission. The two test flights were used, in part, to verify "improvements and adjustments" to the Sepectrum 33's systems made after its first flight on Jan. 7, according to the company. The Spectrum 33 is a new light business jet built using a new carbon-graphite construction technique. That technique, in part, helps the new jet fly with the same size cabin as popular eight-to-nine-seat light bizjets, but with less than two-thirds the weight.

The airplane is designed to cruise as high as FL450 and as fast as 415 knots. Its maximum range is slated to be as much as 2,000 nm. “We were able to conduct shallow coordinated turns with rudder input alone,” Davies said, “and saw excellent control in all axes.” He noted that the Spectrum 33’s takeoff acceleration and climb performance “is well beyond anything I’ve seen in this class of aircraft. Takeoff distances for the flights were less than 800 feet,” Davies commented, “and touch-down speeds were 85 knots with 15 degrees of flaps. Control during flap deployment required only minor changes in trim, and the ability to hold nose-up attitude during landing was excellent.” He added that, “the tests are confirming that the 33 is highly stable, docile and easy to fly for single-pilot operations.” FAA certification of the Spectrum 33 is slated for 2007 or 2008.