Following years of incremental progress and cabin mock-ups, Stratos arrived at Oshkosh 2017 with a real airplane. After first flight in November 2016, the proof of concept aircraft is still early in envelope expansion testing. At 70 flight hours, company test pilots have taken the Stratos 714 to 330 knots true airspeed, 250 knots indicated and 18,000 feet. Kevin Jordan, chief sales officer, says the production airplane will carry four 200-pound passengers, with bags, for a 1,500 nautical mile trip at 400 knots true and FL410.
Specifications for the jet were laid down over a decade ago, before the great recession, when “very light jets” were the next big thing. Lancair owner Michael Lemaire and Lancair engineer Carsten Sundin had a vision for the next airplane Lemaire wanted. The single-engine jet would need to be at least 50 knots faster and go 50% farther than the Lancair IV-P with four full-sized people. That’s still the plan. Stratos has enough cash for one more test article, but Jordan says getting the airplane certified will require additional outside funding. If they can’t get the additional funding, Jordan says Stratos could begin production on a kit version today, and that it would be a profitable business model, but it’s not their first choice.
Stratos isn’t projecting a final sale price, in part because aircraft certification and sales are likely still years away, but Fred Hadlich, director of maintenance and prototype project manager, says buyers can expect pricing competitive with comparably sized, certified turboprops like the Epic LT or the TBM 930. Hadlich believes the market for the 714 will be more robust than the overall success of the VLJ concept would suggest. With the utility of smaller turboprops, speed of small twin-jets and the simplicity of a single engine, there are quite a few markets the 714 can access—if Stratos can get the airplane through certification.