A Closer Look at the Comp Air 12

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Comp Air owner and president Ron Lueck is wearing a giant smile this week at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla. That's because the Comp Air 12 made it to the airshow as promised, just days after making its maiden flight. In a media briefing on Tuesday morning, Lueck said the airplane flew gear down at 35 percent power from the company's headquarters in Merritt Island, Fla., to Lakeland, clocking a modest 135 knots the whole way. The gear couldn't be retracted due to a wiring error -- the gear indication lights illuminate green whether the gear is extended or retracted, which Lueck said will be fixed shortly after the turboprop single makes the trek back home next Monday.

Due to customer input, the final Comp Air 12 will be five feet longer to comfortably accommodate six passengers, baggage and a lav. (The shorter version currently on display at Sun 'n Fun will eventually be redesignated as the Comp Air 14, which will be available only as a kitbuilt.) FAA certification for the $2.5 million Comp Air 12 is expected in early 2010.

While no avionics have been chosen for the airplane, Lueck is leaning toward the Honeywell Apex system. Preliminary specifications include a 2,500 nm range, FL290 ceiling, a 1,600-lb. payload with full fuel and a cruise speed in excess of 300 knots. Now that the airplane has flown, Comp Air is accepting $100,000 deposits for the cabin-class turboprop.