Whither The SJ30?
San Antonio, Texas-based Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corp. (SSAC) is being visited by Taiwan Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-hsiang this week. The company is a joint venture in which Taiwan holds a more than 90-percent share. According to the China Post, the vice minister was at SSAC’s headquarters mainly to find out why it has yet to deliver a copy of the SJ30 light jet since receiving type certification for the model 12 months ago. A company spokesman told AVweb that no major news or decisions have emerged from the meetings with the minister, adding that the “general atmosphere seems positive.” Yen-hsiang told the newspaper that SSAC is having trouble delivering the first airplane for various reasons, including “wrongly installed wings.” Acknowledging the problem, the spokesman said, “Wrongly installed wings means that the left wing on s/n 006 and 008 have shown to have an extra 1.5 degrees of leading-edge up twist, making the airplane fly right-wing heavy at high airspeeds. We chose the expensive, but correct, solution to change the left-hand wings on these two airplanes. We could have chosen to droop the flaps or ailerons to make the airplane fly wings level, but we want these first early production airplanes to be as aerodynamically perfect as possible. All other airplanes seem fine with symmetric wings.”
Due to the production delays, the company laid off 100 line workers at its San Antonio plant and 50 at its wing and fuselage facility in Martinsburg, W.Va., in August. Sino Swearingen claims it has orders for 302 of its $5.995 million SJ30 twinjets. A fully loaded SJ30 will cost $6.195 million. The spokesman said SSAC still hopes to deliver the first customer SJ30 (serial number 006) to Doug Jaffe, an early investor in the program, before the NBAA convention next week, though “it will probably follow one to two weeks after the show.” The SSAC could have its FAA production certificate by the spring, according to the spokesman. The SJ30 earned its FAA type certificate in 2005, shortly before last year's NBAA show.