Home' Asian Aviation : AAV Sept 2010 Contents 32 AsianAviation | SEPTEMBER 2010
Deliveries were set to accelerate a er the rst
quarter of this year. e company said it has more
than 600 rm orders for the aircra .
e type has proved to be a huge success in its home
market. Since the rst Phenom 100 was delivered to
a Brazilian customer in June 2009, the domestic eet
has grown to 46 aircra , making the VLJ Brazil's most
popular business jet.
Brazil accounts for about 30 percent of the
Phenom market, second only to the USA. Local
customers also account for about 15 percent of the
manufacturer's outstanding orders for the jet family.
Spectrum in limbo
Spectrum Aeronautical began test ying its S-33
Independence VLJ in 2006. However, the S-33's
certi cation has been delayed from 2009 without
a clear explanation from the manufacturer, which
seems to have shi ed its focus to the larger S-40
Freedom mid-size jet.
e S-33 uses a carbon- bre construction that
makes the aircra weight about two-thirds as much
as a comparable aluminium structure. Designed to
cruise at 415 knots at altitudes up to 45,000 , with
a range of up to 2,000 nautical miles, the aircra is
also supposed to burn about half as much fuel as its
The aircraft is intended to carry five to six
passengers and o er a maximum take-o weight of
7.300lb, selling at a retail price of US$3.65 million. It
is powered by twin Williams FJ33-4 turbofans.
e S-33 ight-test programme was marred by a
crash in July 2006, which killed both test pilots on
board and was caused by the control linkage having
been incorrectly connected during maintenance a er
the previous ight, reversing the control output.
Diamond Aircra Industries also began ying its
VLJ competitor, the D-Jet in 2006, with a second
prototype taking to the air in September 2007,
followed by a third in April 2008.
Certification of the Williams FJ-33-4A-19-
powered aircra has been much delayed however, and
is now unlikely to happen before 2012, according to
uno cial reports. e hold-ups have arisen because
of a combination of factors, including funding issues
and changes in the engine and de-icing system.
e manufacturer itself has given no formal update
on the programme since last year, when it announced
a certi cation delay until 2011. e ight-test aircra
have logged about 700 ight hours to date.
Preparing for flight
North Carolina-based Honda Aircra has said it is
preparing to y its HA-420 HondaJet for the rst time
in November, with the rst ight-test aircra having
already completed power-on tests. e company said
it is now focusing on avionics and electrical systems
integration before the start of ight-testing.
Engine integration work is expected to begin in the
third quarter of this year, once the rst batch of GE
Honda HF120 turbofans is received.
e aircra is designed to accommodate ve to six
passengers, o ering a maximum take-o weight of
9,200lb, a cruise speed of 420 knots and a range of
1,400 nautical miles. e ser vice ceiling is 43,000
and the aircra is being o ered with a Garmin G3000
Other programmes -- such as the Cirrus Vision
SF50 and the Piper Aircra PiperJet -- also remain
in the pipeline.
Although the sector is now shying away from the
VLJ name, it is possible that the concept may get a
new lease of life. Demand was sti ed by the worst
recession in living memory, but only when the
recovery is stable will manufacturers truly know how
much of a market remains for these 'entry-level' jets.n
Embraer's Phenom 100 has rapidly become the most popular business jet in the Brazilian market. Credit: Embraer
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