Spectrum Upgrades S-33, Accelerates S-40 Schedule

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The S-33 Independence very light jet, under development by Spectrum Aeronautical, will be powered by a Williams International FJ33-4A-19 engine instead of the previously planned FJ33-4A-15, the company said on Monday. "This will give the jet a substantial step up in both thrust and efficiency," said Spectrum Chairman Linden Blue. "The Independence already had the highest thrust-to-weight ratio of any business jet, and now it's even better." The bigger engine is also more fuel efficient, he said. According to Blue, the company will accelerate the FAA type certification program for its new midsize jet, the S-40 Freedom. As such, the Freedom's schedule has been moved up about a year. "To do this requires a shift in priorities, making the Freedom our primary focus for the time being," he said. The current plan is to certify the nine-seat Freedom in 2009, then certify the more powerful version of the eight-place Independence in 2010 instead of 2009 as originally planned. The powerplant upgrade and other design improvements allow Spectrum to increase the speed, range and cabin size of the S-33, the company said. The cabin diameter will increase to 60 inches. The jet's speed will increase to more than 430 KTAS.