“The two big activities in the company are ramping up production rate and finishing up certification on the jet,” said Rick Adam when asked “What’s new at Adam Aircraft?”
“Our primary focus is finishing up the certification work on the A700, using the Number Two jet. It has major improvements over the Number One jet. It has a certifiable fuel system and the full Avidyne display…it’s very close to what we’re going to have certified,” he said.
“The other major activity of the company is ramping up A500 production. We’re now up to two airplanes a month and we want to get up to at least 10 a month,” he said. “We’ve been running the company since 1998 and we’re just now getting revenues. Revenues are nice,” he commented.
The Adam A500 is the first new twin-engine plane in decades and has caught the attention of many admirers, Adam said, predicting that sales – already impressive for a new, different-looking airplane – would continue to climb as more are seen on ramps around the world.
Rick Adam is a great believer in safety. He once owned and loved a Cessna Skymaster, which he bought because of its in-line thrust: an engine pulling in front and another pushing from the rear. In-line thrust, he concluded, eliminated many of the handling problems encountered in multi-engine airplanes when one of those engines woofs. When he decided to build airplanes, that configuration was the only one he considered, he says.
“When we do a demonstration flight, particularly with a twin-engine pilot, our demo pilot will say, ‘Put your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap. I’m going to feather the front engine.’ They get all tense until they see that nothing happens. That’s why we build that plane.” Adam obviously loves that story and enjoys showing before-and-after pictures of such pilots’ facial expressions.
A700 NEARING CERTIFICATION
Certification of the A700 jet is expected this year, Adam said.
“We’re building two more jets right now,” he said in April, during an interview at Sun ‘n Fun. “We’re looking at the Number Three flying jet as a production (version) and we’re also building a jet for FAA static testing that will end up being broken.”
Asked what modifications to the Number Two jet had been derived from lessons learned in Number One flight tests, Adam acknowledged that there were several important ones.
“We ended up moving the engines back four or five inches, and inside we staggered the systems, such as FADEC, so one blade (failure) cannot take both sets out. We also added triple-redundancy for the power and moved the emergency battery up into the nose. We’re making very good headway there.”
A lot of the A700’s airframe is derived from the A500 propeller plane, which has reduced certification time for the jet significantly, Adam pointed out. “We have very modest testing on things like the tail and the gear, windshield, doors, things like that,” he said.
AS TO PERFORMANCE…
“I flew the Number Two jet down to Pueblo (recently),” he said. “It’s a great handling airplane, very stable in takeoff and landing, and in low-speed configurations for approach. The twin vertical fins and big rudders give it a catamaran effect, like a double hull. It’s very, very stable. You don’t get any yaw or Dutch roll. And frankly the acceleration’s stunning as it comes off the runway.”
Watching from the ground, as the A700 was flown at Sun ‘n Fun, seemed to confirm Adam’s enthusiastic comments. Sleek as it looks, and fast as it goes, it appeared to belie many of the perceptions pilots have about jets, landing sedately after a smooth and remarkably steady approach despite air that must have been agitated by all the flight activity.
A TURBOPROP IN THE FUTURE?
Many people have speculated that Adam Aircraft’s numbering system suggests an A600 turboprop that might eventually fall into place between the A500 and A700.
Adam did not say how the model numbers were chosen, but was very straightforward about denying any turboprop eventuality.
“The difference in performance between the A500 and a turboprop is insignificant, but the additional turboprop cost is not,” he said. “That’s also true of the jet.
When you think about turboprop performance and cost compared to the A700, anyone wanting turbine power would pick the jet,” he stated.
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