A500 instrument panel
Mar. 30, 2004 - In a move to position itself for manufacturing its line of all-composite airplanes, Adam Aircraft last week hired Joe Walker, the former senior vice president of worldwide sales for Gulfstream Aerospace, to be its group president for commercial business. Meanwhile, the company is saying that certification of its A500 centerline thrust twin has slipped until this summer, with deliveries to follow shortly thereafter. A year ago, Adam was expecting to certify the airplane by fall of 2003 and to deliver as many as 10 airplanes by the end of last year.
In his new role, Walker will be laying out Adam's plans for sales, distribution, and service. A member of the Adam Aircraft board since 2003, Walker began his general aviation career in 1975 with Cessna Aircraft. He joined Gulfstream in 1995 and remained with that firm until 2002. Walker holds a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering and an MBA. In addition to his academic credentials, he is a multiengine, instrument-rated pilot and has owned several cabin-class twins. Walker will work in tandem with John Knudsen, who continues as president for government relations, which includes interaction with the FAA for the certification process.
Adam, the only firm flying a very light jet powered by its intended production engines, is aiming to be the first manufacturer to certify this new class of aircraft. Since its appearance at EAA AirVenture last year, the six-place A700 has undergone a series of flight tests and has amassed more than 50 flights and 100 hours aloft. Icing tests have been successfully conducted on the 1,200-pound thrust Williams International FJ33 engines that power the aircraft. Adam officials believe the current test program will lead to FAA certification in 2005, with first deliveries to follow shortly thereafter. That, too, has slipped from earlier predictions of certification by the end of 2004.
Adam has more than 50 firm orders from owner-pilots as well as commercial operators for the $1.995 million aircraft, which is slightly smaller than Cessna's CJ1 and will be certified to 41,000 feet, have an NBAA IFR range of 1,100 nm, and a maximum cruise speed of 340 knots.
The A700 will be certificated to FAR Part 23 standards and is expected to have a balanced field length of 2,950 feet, which will enable the aircraft to operate from a large number of airports currently not available to jet equipment.
The Adam A700 is constructed from carbon composite materials prepared in large molds, thereby enabling production to expand relatively easily as demand dictates. Several state governments are courting Adam to locate its manufacturing facilities in one of their communities, but no decision has yet been made. The company already employs 250 workers, with that number expected to grow as production ramps up.
The A700 jet is similar in configuration and construction to the twin piston-powered A500, which also features a distinctive twin-boom connected by the aircraft's horizontal tail mounted atop twin vertical stabilizers. Company officials plan to certify the A500 prior to obtaining FAA approval to manufacture the A700.
Adam Aircraft selected the Avidyne Entegra flight deck as an option on the A500. The system includes a primary flight display, multifunction display, and solid-state gyros. The A700 will include the next-generation, fully integrated cockpit from Avidyne. - John W. Olcott