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|Type||Light civil transport aircraft|
|Manufacturer||Advanced Aerodynamics and Structures Inc.|
|Unit cost||US$1.6 million|
The AASI Jetcruzer is a single turboprop light civil transport made by AASI. The Jetcruzer has an unusual configuration, with a single turboprop engine driving a pusher propeller, prominent canards, and fins mounted at the ends of its swept wings. The plane has seating for up to six people including the pilot. The Jetcruzer is noteworthy in being the first aircraft to have achieved a spin resistance certification from the FAA.
Work on the Jetcruzer began in March 1983, with the prototype first flying on January 11, 1989. This initial version, designated the Jetcruzer 450 seated six people (including the pilot) and was powered by an Allison 250-C20S. It gained an FAA type certification on June 14, 1994. Three prototypes were built, but AASI chose not to market this aircraft, in order to focus on more advanced versions. A spin recovery system was designed for the aircraft by Butler Parachute Systems which also worked on one for the Swearingen SJ-30.
The first of these was the Jetcruzer 500, a slightly stretched version of the 450 powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66A and featuring cabin pressurization. Two of the 450 prototypes were converted to this configuration, and first flew in this form on August 22, 1997. This was the version selected for production, and at one point, AASI had orders for some 200 aircraft at $US 1.6 million each. A military version, the ML-2 had also been offered, as well as a UAV, the ML-1
None of these orders would be filled, however, as the Jetcruzer 500 remained uncertified and its development slowly stagnated. Specific problems with the aircraft's noise, high stall speed, and center-of-gravity were not overcome before all work on it was suspended in 2002. Nearly 20 years of work had still not resulted in a marketable aircraft.
In December 1992, construction work began on the prototype of an even larger variant, the Jetcruzer 650, which was to seat up to thirteen. This was quickly abandoned as the company's financial problems required resources to be focused on the 500. A military version would have been the ML-4
Similarly, a turbofan-powered version was planned as the Stratocruzer 1250, but never left the drawing board. Design work had started in September 1991 to provide a business jet with intercontinental range. A military version, the ML-5 intended for surveillance duties, was also planned. Work was abandoned after AASI failed to attract backers for the project in 1995.
In November 2003, AASI (by now, MASG) offered the entire Jetcruzer project for auction, and sold it to Innova Aircraft in February 2004. Shortly after the purchase, Innova announced its intentions of offering a new version of the aircraft in kit form, marketed by a new subsidiary, Jetcruzer LLC. This will feature a modified wing to overcome the problems faced by the Jetcruzer 500, and will be powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D turbofans. It is expected to fly by late 2004 or early 2005.
Jetcruzer 500 development:
- Jetcruzer 450
- Jetcruzer 500
Specifications (Jetcruzer 500)
- Crew: 1
- Capacity: 5 passengers
- Length: 28 ft 2 in (8.59 m)
- Wingspan: 42 ft 2 in (12.85 m)
- Height: 10 ft 5 in (3.17 m)
- Wing area: 193 ft² (18 m²)
- Empty weight: 2,950 lb (1,338 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 5,500 lb (2,495 kg)
- Powerplant: 1× Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66 turboprop, 850 shp (635 kW)
- Maximum speed: 300 knots (345 mph, 556 km/h)
- Range: 1,579 nm (1,818 mi, 2,936 km)
- Service ceiling: 30,000 ft (9,100 m)
- Rate of climb: ft/min (m/s)
- Airliners.net Article, Image
- Pilotfriend Article, Image
- AIN Online on the cruzer
- Images and Info on the 450s spin recovery system
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