Adam Aircraft now expects full production certification of its A500 in-line piston twin late this year.
Type certification of the A700 twin jet will follow “sometime next year,” said CEO Rick Adam at this year’s Oshkosh AirVenture.
The A500 has its type certification, but is limited to daytime VFR flight, three occupied seats and no baggage. Upgrades to the certification process are under way in two “blocks,” the first to be completed this month, the other in September, Adam said.
Meanwhile, A700 number 1 – which was flown to, and at, Oshkosh last month – has logged more than 260 hours of flight tests. It now has FADEC engine controls, a second-generation interior, pressurization, and many other components that will be in production aircraft. Number 2, the first fully conforming A700, should have its first flight in the fourth quarter of this year, Adam said. About 50 A500s will have been delivered by the time the first customer A700 goes out the door, he estimated.
The A500 and A700 share some 2,000 of their 3,500 common parts, including about two-thirds of the instrument panel (all but the engine instruments), the seats and landing gear. The two models share some 99% of their suppliers. “The wing is the same except for a thicker spar” for the jet, Adam said.
A700 number 2 actually is being built from A500 number 9, he added.
Adam obviously enjoyed pointing out that the A700 has the largest cabin volume among the current crop of very light jets, including “the largest dedicated aft lavatory of any VLJ.” Its 240 cu. ft. of cabin space is some 35 cu. ft. larger (and $500,000 cheaper) than Cessna’s Mustang, which also was flown to Oshkosh this year.
Along with the Eclipse 500, the A700 and A500 were designed for the heavy use of air taxi operators from the outset, suggesting a high reliability factor. Even so, 70 A500 orders and 50 A700 orders have come from owner operators, so far, Adam said.
How many of those orders overlap, he did not say, but Adam Aircraft offers a buy-and-upgrade program under which a buyer ordering an A500 and A700 simultaneously can fly the A500 for 200 hours, take delivery of the A700, and be guaranteed insurability. Pilot training for both models includes a mentor program for anyone needing it.
The company announced 70 air taxi orders earlier this year.
Production plans are for 10 A500s and six A700s a month, once the program gets rolling, Adam said.