GA Jet Ups and Downs


Adam Aircraft Joins The Jet Fray…

Ho-hum, another show, another new jet. This week the show is AOPA’s Expo in Palm Springs, Calif., and the jet is the A700 from Adam Aircraft. Although it hasn’t delivered even one of its planned piston twins, Adam this week announced that it’s taking orders for … you guessed it, a six-seat personal jet. Adam touts the new A700 jet as “breakthrough technology,” despite the fact that the market is currently awash in proposed mini-jets and only one, the Eclipse 500, has flown. (Once.) Sporting the same twin-boom tail as the A500 push-pull piston twin Adam has under development, the new jet will be powered by a pair of Williams FJ-33 engines predicted to deliver a 340-knot max cruise speed at 38,000 feet. Adam claims the carbon-fiber composite A700 will have a more spacious cabin than that of its competitors and it’s doing something novel with the space occupied by the rear engine in the piston version of the fuselage: adding a lav and a sink. That potty and other features will bring the initial asking price of the A700 to $1.99 million, more than twice the price of the Eclipse but less than the $2.3 million Cessna wants for the Mustang personal jet in announced in September. Adam proposes a first flight for the A700 in mid-2003, with deliveries in late 2004. We’ll have more on both the A700 and AOPA Expo in Monday’s edition.

…While Eclipse Suffers Engine Delays…

Meanwhile, as all eyes remain on flight tests of the Eclipse 500 in Albuquerque, N.M., the company reports that the project is temporarily grounded due to developmental snags with the jet’s compact Williams EJ22 engines. The Eclipse 500 first flew in August but has been ground-bound since then due to snags with engine accessories, chiefly starters and fuel-metering equipment. Eclipse spokesperson Cory Canada told AVweb that the engines have been sent back to Williams International’s Walled Lake, Mich., plant for rework. Eclipse had planned to have spare engines to continue flight testing but, thus far, Williams has been unable to provide them. Canada declined to speculate on when flight testing would resume or how the delayed enginedevelopment will affect Eclipse’s certification schedule.

…And Bizjet Demand Remains Mixed

While Adam Aircraft appears bullish on the market for personal jets, Gulfstream is temporarily bearish on bizjets. The company reports that deliveries of its new aircraft were down significantly during the third quarter of this year and sales of used jets aren’t much brighter. Gulfstream says it lost $10 million on the sale of nine used aircraft and took a write-off of $25 million on its remaining used fleet, reflecting prices eroded by continuing market softness. As we’ve reported previously, Bombardier and Gulfstream are laying off workers due to slackening demand and model retrenchment. Some 1,980 have been let go from Bombardier while Gulfstream has furloughed 500 workers. Cessna has posted layoffs as well, but nonetheless it claims brisk demand for its new Mustang personal jet and for the Citation CJ.