The Stratos 716 very light jet introduced at EAA AirVenture in July is based on a theory that bigger is better. The redesign of the Stratos 714 adds two additional seats to the single-engine jet that aims to compete with turboprops.
The Stratos 714 proof-of-concept aircraft has logged 185 hours over 130 test flights, the company reported, and feedback from potential customers prompted a redesign to extend the cabin by 31 inches in length, and 3.5 inches in width. The 714 flew a demonstration at EAA AirVenture in 2017, and turned a few heads, according to Fred Hadlich, program director for the Stratos 716.
The 714 was designed to carry four people on 1,600-nautical-mile legs at 400 knots, with the ability to climb to 41,000 feet.
Hadlich said the stretched 716 version will first reach the market in kit form, the Stratos 716X, with a robust builder-assist program. Hadlich expects most owners will operate their own jets, and Stratos hopes to entice current owners of “high-performance six-to eight-place turboprops, like an Epic, a King Air, or a Meridian. The the TBM guys seem to have a lot of interest in our aircraft, too.”
Potential owners will need to get their hands dirty and spend some time at the company's headquarters in Redmond, Oregon, which includes a 41,000-square-foot production and manufacturing facility. “It’s probably going to be 2,500 man-hours, or about six months of serious commitment,” Hadlich said.
He added that the company’s goal was “to bring the 716X to Oshkosh next year.”
The company plans to eventually produce a factory-built, certified version of the 716, and believes that creating a fleet of experimental kit aircraft to start with will support that effort, as well as allowing select customers to get their own jet in the air years ahead of the rest.