Spectrum Aeronautical Stays On Course

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Cardiff By The Sea, Calif.-based Spectrum Aeronautical continues to build a "company-conforming" model of its all-composite very light jet, the Spectrum Model 33 Independence. Company President Austin Blue told AVweb that it will indeed resume test flights in the fall when the airplane comes on line. The "proof of concept" Spectrum 33 crashed on takeoff last summer due to misrigged controls, killing the two test pilots. However, that aircraft logged some 40 hours before the accident, allowing Spectrum engineers to get "about 90 percent" of the data that they originally planned from the POC airplane, Blue said. "We learned a lot from that airplane, and we're using the data to incorporate changes into the next airplane." The biggest modification besides the aileron control rigging system is the change from a stabilator to a trimmable horizontal stabilizer, which is mechanically simpler, according to Blue. Other improvements focus on the Independence's interior and electrical system. Wind-tunnel testing has also led to minor aerodynamic improvements for the $3.65 million twinjet. Certification is planned for mid-2009. Meanwhile, the company is also "making a great deal of progress" on its midsize twin turbofan, Freedom. "We're now past the conceptual design phase," Blue told AVweb. A mock-up of the $6.2 million Freedom is expected to be unveiled later this year.