Grob To Go On With SPn After Loss

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Grob Aerospace CEO Niall Olver said his company "remains committed to the program and production of aircraft number three will continue," following the loss of a jet prototype. The second, newer prototype of Grob's SPn all-composite "up to nine" passenger jet was lost Wednesday, Nov. 29 shortly after takeoff during a demonstration flight at the Grob facility in Mattsies Tussenhausen. The aircraft took off, appeared to turn right to enter the pattern, but instead fell into a meadow. Chief SPn test pilot Gerard Guillaumaud, the sole occupant, was killed in the crash. The aircraft lost in the crash had first flown on Sept. 29 and had accumulated 40 cycles and 28 flight hours, according to the company. Its older sibling has to date logged some 300 flight hours and 450 cycles.

The design had been slated for certification and initial customer deliveries in the third quarter of 2007. "The possible impact on the certification program can not be foreseen for the moment," Olver stated. Grob is marketing the jet as "a new class of aircraft combining the versatility and robust short field performance of a turboprop with the comfort, elegance and superior cruise speed of a genius luxury jet."