Sun, Oct 29, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Taiwan-US venture to deliver jet next week

GREEN LIGHT SSAC has completed all flight tests and paperwork required by the US Federal Aviation Administration, paving the way for delivery of the jet

By Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The interior of Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corp's SJ30 light business jet is shown in this photo provided by the company.


The Taiwan-US venture Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corp (SSAC) will be delivering the company's first light business jet to a Texas customer early next week, its chairman and chief executive officer Kuo Ching-chiang (郭清江) told the Taipei Times yesterday.

Last week, SSAC completed all flight tests and paperwork required by the US Federal Aviation Administration for delivering its first SJ30 (serial number 006).

The San Antonio-based company expects to produce 100 of these jets a year by 2010.

"Douglas Jaffe of San Antonio will take delivery of the SN006 early next week and will base his aircraft at the San Antonio International Airport," Kuo said in an e-mail.

"Two of his pilots are currently undergoing pilot training at SSAC's FAA-approved Pilot Center," he added.

Kuo said Jaffe has been a friend of SSAC for many years. The San Antonio businessman will use the plane in his real estate and oil and gas businesses, while SSAC will use it as a demonstration aircraft to support the company's marketing efforts, Kuo added.

Commenting on his being the first SJ30 customer, Jaffe said he is extremely excited about the plane.

"This is the first new plane from a startup company in over 40 years, and the design has stood the test of time. I hope it is the first of many thousands of aircraft produced by the SSAC organization," he said in a statement.

SSAC, in which the Taiwanese government holds a stake of more than 90 percent, was formed in 1999 through the combination of Swearingen Aircraft Corp founded by Texas aviation pioneer Ed Swearingen and Sino Aerospace Investment Corp (華揚航太投資), which was managed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Despite criticism of the company's decade-long delayed mass production, Kuo said that SSAC is grateful to its investors in Taiwan, as well as its vendors and employees for making the plane possible.

"This delivery culminates over 10 years of research, design, construction, flight tests and certification efforts by the employees of SSAC," Kuo said.

"A true testament to the design of the SJ30 lies in the fact that there is no other aircraft in this class that outperforms the SJ30, despite the length of time it has taken to bring it to market," he added.

The twinjet SJ30 is capable of a range of more than 2,500 nautical miles (4,630km) with the highest cruise speed in the light jet industry of Mach .83 (1,000kph), according the company. SSAC currently has 302 orders for SJ30s on the books, with a price tag of about US$6.2 million each, Kuo said last week.

The SN006 will be taken to Stevens Aviation Inc in South Carolina for the completion of some interior and paint work, after SSAC and Stevens Aviation signed a letter of intent according to which Stevens Aviation will be responsible for the aircraft's interior as well as its exterior finishing in the North American market.

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