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Spectrum Aeronautical was introduced to the aviation community last week with the announcement of its all-composite Spectrum 33 business jet.
Development of its new, high performance jet has been kept a tightly guarded secret until now. A prototype Spectrum 33 is a few months away from flight testing.
Spectrum is led by industry veteran Linden Blue, who previously held the positions of President and CEO of Beech Aircraft, and Executive Vice President of Gates Learjet. “A very experienced and talented team has created a superior aircraft that incorporates some remarkable materials technology,” said Blue. “We’ve kept the program quiet,” he said, “because everyone wanted to focus intensely on technical development without distractions.”
The lightweight airframe is made from three single-piece composite sections – fuselage, empennage and wing – and even has composite spring main landing gear. The aircraft is claimed to replace aluminium and older composites found in many existing aircraft with an advanced, next generation carbon graphite material called fibeX. The result is said to be a very light jet that provides the comfort of a full-sized cabin with performance that matches or exceeds any other aircraft in its class.
“Low weight translates directly into higher performance and operating efficiency” Blue said, “so that was one of our top priorities. Reaching that goal called for a fresh approach to aircraft manufacturing. The materials and processes we’ve developed have their origins in conventional approaches, but we have moved beyond the current state-of-the-art,” he said. “Our breakthrough comes in successfully adapting this technology to create a competitive business jet.”
Spectrum principals have been working with long-time partner Rocky Mountain Composites for many years on advanced composite aircraft structures. In 1998 several important technical achievements came together, resulting in the launch of the Spectrum 33 program. Since then, Spectrum and Rocky Mountain Composites have been working in close concert on development of the Model 33, its manufacturing processes, and preparations for FAA certification. Spectrum recently acquired 51% of Rocky Mountain Composites, which plans to produce the aircraft in North Spanish Fork, Utah.
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