By Karen Di Piazza
On Sept. 19, the Federal Aviation Administration granted a production certificate to Adam Aircraft for its A500, a six-place, piston twin-engine composite plane sporting a unique boom tail design. The production certificate allows Adam Aircraft, headquartered at Centennial Airport (APA) in Colorado, to manufacture and deliver its A500 to customers.
Ten days later, the FAA granted an amended FAR Part 23 type certification. The A500 is certified to its full 5.5-psi pressurization, which provides a sea-level cabin to 12,500 feet. Additional certified upgrades include a fully coupled IFR autopilot, with single-pilot flight operation, and leading-edge cuffs to improve low-speed handling characteristics, plus and an expanded CG range.
This winter, concurrent with de-icing certification, maximum operating altitude expansion will be at 25,000 feet. Final performance numbers will include a 230-knot cruise speed and more than a 1,100-nm NBAA IFR range at 75 percent power.
The A500’s TC marks the first day/night VFR/IFR certification for a new-technology, all-composite, pressurized, twin-engine aircraft. The last new pressurized twin-engine airplane was manufactured in 1986.
Rick Adam, founder and CEO of Adam Aircraft, said the company is capable of producing six A500s a month. As of Sept. 25, the A500 had 71 orders for the owner-flown segment. Currently, three A500s have been delivered for VFR, with a 12,500-foot limit flight ceiling. But with IFR approval from the FAA, aircraft that were delivered without this feature will be retrofitted at no charge.
The current price for the centerline twin is $1.5 million. A500 serial number 008 is currently undergoing its final flight checks for an October delivery, while serial numbers 009 through 024 are on the production line.
Joe Walker, company president, said the A500 is the most capable twin-engine piston aircraft available in the marketplace today.
“No other aircraft in this segment comes close to the performance, the comfort of the largest pressurized cabin in its class or the amenities that the A500 provides,” Walker said. “Our customers have recognized this outstanding value, and as a result we have a-two-year backlog of orders to fill.”
Adam Aircraft is excited about the A500’s certification, as the aircraft shares 60 percent commonalities with the A700 AdamJet, an eight-place, twin-turbofan very light jet.
Shelly Simi, Adam Aircraft spokesperson, said the A500’s progress of certification will significantly move the A700 program ahead. As of Sept. 25, she said the company has 342 orders for its twinjet in various categories: 66 for the owner-flown segment, 101 managed aircraft, 100 jet cards and 75 for FAR Part 135 air taxis.
Priced at $2.25 million, there’s major interest in the A700. From the company’s current backlog of orders, first delivery is forecast in the first quarter of 2007. For someone ordering the A700 today, the next available delivery date would be around the first quarter of 2009.
When asked if Adam would bypass provisional or baseline certification on its A700, rather than applying for straight, full type certification without limitations, Simi said the company hasn’t decided how it’s going to approach FAA certification.
She said Adam will celebrate the groundbreaking of another production plant in Ogden, Utah, Oct. 13. She also gave a hint of what’s to come during the NBAA Annual Meeting & Convention in Orlando, Fla., Oct. 17 – 19.
“Adam will display two A700s and two A500s, plus it will announce a major air-limo order on its A700,” she said.
For more information, visit [http://www.adamaircraft.com].