Tuesday, March 1, 2005
Adam A700: First Of The Microjets?
The race to bring the first of the very light jets to certification is turning final, And the upstart from Denver is looking like it may be the new leader to the finish line
The last rush of specific aircraft types came in the late 1970s when Piper, Beech and Grumman-American all fielded light-light twins—the Seminole, Duchess and Cougar, respectively. At the time, general-aviation manufacturers were turning out 15,000-plus airplanes a year, and pilots were training at a record rate. Practically everyone was predicting there would be a viable step-up market for new aviators transitioning to twins in search of the peak of the pyramid—an airline job. " />
Stabilized at 130 knots of climb speed, you’ll see a solid 2,500 fpm on the VSI. Flight characteristics are similar to those of the A500, positive and predictable, although flight-test limitations and a 14,000-foot ceiling prevented any exploration of the cruise regime on my one-hour hop.
In-flight maneuvering is about what you’d expect at 7,000 pounds gross, with control pressures similar to a 421’s. Flying at the temporary flight-test limit speed of 170 knots, I tried turns to 50 degrees of bank and pitch attitudes to 20 degrees up with gear and flaps extended and retracted, and the airplane offered no surprises. We couldn’t fly actual stalls, but I’d be surprised if they’re different from a CJ’s.
Landings are the easiest of any jet I’ve flown. Approach speeds can be as you like them, but 110 knots works well most of the time. The standard drill is to carry power down to the flare, then ease it off and let the jet sink slowly to the asphalt. The trailing-beam gear helps absorb landing loads so well that most touchdowns almost are guaranteed to be satisfying. If you can fly a Malibu, you’ll actually find the Adam A700 easier to land.
Insurance may be a major constraint for piston pilots stepping up to a VLJ, and Adam has a plan to ease the transition from piston or turboprop to jet. It’s called the Insurance Assurance Program. To qualify for the program, customers must order both an A500 and A700, meet minimum experience requirements, then take delivery of their A500 and log 200 hours before trading up to the A700. The two Adam designs are so similar in everything, from stall characteristics, in-flight handling and approach speeds to side-stick controllers, systems operation, switch and circuit-breaker location that the transition to the simple Adam jet for an A500 pilot should be a breeze. The A700 is em-phatically easier to fly than the A500.
Rick Adam’s piston model should be certified by the time you read this, and similarities between the two airplanes may allow certification of the A700 by this time next year. Adam hopes to hold the price to $2.1 million. If he does, we’ll have a chance to see if there really is a market for thousands of VLJs. Personally, I hope so, as the A700 is such an easy flying design, it deserves to make it.
For more information about the Adam A700, its certification progress or advanced orders, contact Adam Aircraft at (303) 406-5900 or visit the company’s Website by logging on to www.adamaircraft.com.
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