Spectrum’s Plans To Redefine VLJs


For a company that came out of nowhere at last year’s National Business Aviation Association convention, Spectrum Aeronautical LLC seems to be going places fast. Details are slowly starting to emerge about the company’s all-composite Spectrum 33 prototype but the fundamental question of how the company can build a 400-knot, 45,000-foot-ceiling, eight-passenger airplane that weighs two and a half tons less than a CJ2 at maximum takeoff weight and gets off the ground in 800 feet (which the prototype does) will remain unanswered for now. “It’s a proprietary process,” says Mark Jones, the jet’s project manager, of the aircraft’s construction. In a strange combination of circumspectness and unbridled enthusiasm, Jones says he’s aware of the implications of this kind of technological achievement, assuming it comes true. “I know it can accomplish things that no other aircraft has ever achieved,” Jones said. Composite airplanes have a reputation of gaining weight, serious weight, in the journey from drawing board to production. Jones says he’s confident the production aircraft will be close to its target empty weight of 3,700 lbs. although he won’t say how much the prototype, built on production tooling, weighs. Jones said the (eight-passenger) fuselage weighs less than 400 lbs.