Third spn Aircraft To Enter Test Fleet Soon
Grob Aerospace announced this week at NBAA 2007 it has received
over 70 orders for its spn light business jet. Recent orders have
come primarily from corporate customers across Europe and the USA,
adding to earlier announced orders for the spn across four
continents, including a couple of strategically key commitments out
of operators in the Middle East.
“As the company continues to add more sales resource and
support infrastructure globally to the spn program” says CEO
Niall Olver, “interest in the aircraft continues to
Although Olver won’t be drawn on identifying specific
customers, he was happy to concede that, “it shouldn’t
be long before Grob Aerospace will be in a position to start
announcing orders from these exciting new business aviation
markets... because the market has responded so very well to the
spn, we are actually exceeding our sales targets," he added.
Grob Aerospace returns to NBAA this year to showcase a new look
cabin that will be standard aboard its new all-composite spn light
jet. The new interior, exclusively designed by Porsche Design
Studio, can be seen in the full size cabin mockup on show at Booth
“Our mission was to create an environment that reflected
calm, elegance, comfort and functionality” said Roland
Helier, Managing Director of Porsche Design Studio. “The
feedback Grob Aerospace received on the new look cabin mock-up at
EBACE in Geneva as well as in Oshkosh, WI, its first showing in the
USA, is very encouraging.
“Grob Aerospace engineers and the Porsche Design Studio
team have worked extremely hard to capture just what we wanted to
achieve with this interior,” said Olver. “The design
language of Porsche Design Studio combined with the technological
leadership of Honeywell delivers the ultimate cockpit experience --
a detail owner pilots are very enthusiastic about."
In development news, test aircraft #3 is now fully assembled
with all systems installed, an intensive period of comprehensive
ground testing of systems such as fuel, engines, hydraulics,
landing gear and avionics is now underway. This will be followed
month end by taxiing tests and, quickly thereafter, first
Test #3 will also fly most of the systems that will be installed
in the fully conforming series production aircraft. With the
airframe fatigue test in preparation a major milestone for the
certification process of the spn is imminent.
Fatigue testing will be undertaken in-house and is scheduled to
start in Q4 2007. Testing will simulate 84,000 flight hours and
51,000 landings and pressurization cycles to a minimum of 28,000
hours’ and 17’000 landings.
With the goal of further simplifying maintainability, Grob
Aerospace has relocated certain systems into the wing fairing of
the all-composite aircraft, including the oxygen system, single
point pressure fuelling and some electrical power distribution.
This equipment will be easily accessible through large access
panels; designs motivated by the positive reaction from future
maintainers and owners to the large panels already allowing easy
access to spn avionics and hydraulics systems in the forward nose
Three more spn jets will support the flight test program
following the introduction of the third prototype. Olver disclosed
that production of the fourth test aircraft was already well under
way and is scheduled to join the flight test program in Q4
The spn boasts an impressive range and payload for an aircraft
in its class. With six passengers and one pilot, the aircraft can
fly non-stop 1,800 nm. The aircraft features a total cabin volume
of 405 cu.ft -- by far the largest among light business jet, as
well as a large passenger door.
Unique in its class, the spn is designed to operate on
unimproved runways (gravel or grass), traditionally the domain of a
turboprop, requiring a balanced field length of just 3,000 ft at
maximum take off weight. The spn will also be certified for single
pilot operation, and is equipped with a Honeywell avionics suite
more advanced than that of any other aircraft in its class.
Two rear-mounted FADEC controlled Williams FJ44-3A engines
deliver 2,800 lbs of thrust.