First Emivest SJ30 to fly by the end of the month

By John Croft

Sino Swearingen Aircraft owner Emivest Aerospace says the initial production SJ30 light jet will fly before the end of the month.

The aircraft is the first of five or six light jets Sino Swearingen plans to fly, certificate, complete and deliver this year from its final assembly site in San Antonio, Texas. The manufacturer had previously delivered only two SJ30s since certificating the aircraft in 2005.

One of those aircraft now belongs to Emivest and is being used as a demonstrator and flight training aircraft in San Antonio. Emivest became Sino Swearingen's majority owner last year after it bought an 80% share of the company from Taiwanese investors.

© Emivest Aerospace

Along with restarting deliveries, Emivest has been working to optimise production of the five-passenger Williams FJ44-2A-powered twinjet in an attempt to attain a production rate of 45-50 aircraft a year by the end of 2010. As part of the optimisation, Emivest will transfer fuselage, vertical tail and rudder production from its Martinsburg, West Virginia site to another location, possibly San Antonio.

In return, Martinsburg, which employs 30% of Emivest's 300 US-based staff, will become a "centre of excellence" for wings and as such will also produce the wing control surfaces that are now built in San Antonio.

Emivest's first aircraft, serial number 8, will be delivered to a private company in southern California, the first of three jets it has ordered. Company pilots are receiving ground and flight training in San Antonio.

Emivest says the orderbook is steady at 250 orders for the $7.25 million jet, a backlog representing 24-30 months of production. Emivest initially priced the aircraft at $6.2 million last year, but included a built-in cost escalator based on the US consumer price index.

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