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Stratos 714 makes first flight

Company promises a 400-knot personal jet

It’s been a few years now, but finally the Stratos 714 has flown, if only for 10 minutes. The single-engine jet, built by Stratos Aircraft based in Redmond, Oregon, flew Nov. 21 with gear and partial flaps down, reaching 3,700 feet and a speed of 128 knots.

Test pilot Dave Morss flew the maiden flight of the Stratos 714 VLJ (Very Light Jet) on Nov. 21, and tests have continued since. Photo courtesy of Stratos Aircraft.

Original plans called for deliveries in 2010 with a Williams engine to power it. The earliest delivery time is now closer to 2020, and the engine is a Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5 generating 2,900 pounds of takeoff thrust. While there are funds to complete testing and development, an investor must be found to finance certification. If such an investor were found today, and there are potential investors interested, it would take three to four years for certification and first deliveries, said entrepreneur and Stratos Aircraft CEO Michael Lemaire.

Test pilot Dave Morss flew the aircraft with test pilot Len Fox earlier, performing high-speed ground tests. Morss flew the flights alone, given there was only one seat in the aircraft. It is planned to have four seats but be flown single-pilot, meaning three passengers can be accommodated. It is planned for Fox to conduct flight tests in January.

The company aimed for a 400-knot cruising speed believing air traffic control will be more willing to allow it to fly at airline altitudes if it is fast. The aircraft has a service ceiling of 41,000 feet. It promises a 1,500-nautical-mile range. If speed is kept to 402 knots true airspeed, the aircraft will have enough fuel at the destination for a 100-mile flight to an alternate airport. It could cruise as fast as 415 knots true airspeed. Air inlets at each wing root lead to the engine at the bottom rear of the aircraft.

Lemaire, the CEO, said there were a few minor issues on the first flight that were expected, but “nothing dramatic.” “I don’t want to call it a relief, but we are very, very happy,” he said. Stratos officials plan a product introduction at EAA AirVenture 2017.

While the company is not taking deposits or orders, there remain a couple of customers on the books from 2008 when orders were taken. While the aircraft is priced at $2.5 million in today’s dollars (up from $2 million eight years ago), Lemaire said he couldn’t predict what the price might be in 2020.

Following the flight, the crew and company execs went for a champagne lunch “…that lasted awhile,” Lemaire said.

Stratos Aircraft flew their prototype 714 VLJ for the first time Nov. 21, and test flights have contnued evaluating performance and handling. Photo courtesy of Stratos Aircraft.
Alton Marsh
Alton K. Marsh
Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.
Topics: Aircraft, Jet, Aircraft

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