Spectrum Upgrades S-33, Fast Tracks S-40

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Spectrum Aeronautical's S-33 Independence very light jet will be even faster, roomier and have a better than 2,000-nm range mostly due to a switch in powerplants from the Williams International FJ33A-4A-15 to the more powerful FJ33-4A-19. The airplane is also now scheduled for certification behind its larger GE Honda HF120-powered sibling, the S-40 Freedom. According to Spectrum, the engine upgrade increases the eight-place S-33's thrust-to-weight ratio (which had already been projected to be the highest of any business jet) and improves efficiency through better fuel specifics. A cabin redesign accounts for increased cabin space, upsizing the maximum diameter from 58 inches to 60 inches. What it all boils down to is a 430-KTAS jet sporting the largest cabin and longest range of any aircraft in the VLJ category, according to the company. But Spectrum now says its first priority will shift to the nine-place S-40 Freedom midsize jet. That aircraft is scheduled for certification in 2009, which is now to be followed by the S-33 in 2010.