Sport-Jet En Route to Guthrie, Okla.

Sport-Jet En Route to Guthrie, Okla.
Excel-Jet’s new Sport-Jet is a 4+1 seat, single-engine, all-glass aircraft aimed at the general aviation pilot.

Excel-Jet’s new Sport-Jet is a 4+1 seat, single-engine, all-glass aircraft aimed at the general aviation pilot.

Excel-Jet, Ltd. is relocating to Guthrie, Okla. The company, which has been based in Colorado since its inception in 2002, recently reached a financial agreement with Guthrie’s Industrial Development Authority.

“We’ve completed negotiations and Excel-Jet will be relocating its facility within 90 to 120 days,” said Bob Bornhofen, company president and designer.

Alba Weaver, Guthrie’s economic development director, said, “We’ve created a partnership with Excel-Jet and have secured a first phase of funding.”

A $3 to $5 million package from local and state resources will allow the Sport-Jet to move deeply into flight-testing, leading to the start of certification work later this year.

“Working with Bob Bornhofen and the Excel-Jet team has been a most pleasant experience,” Weaver said. “Bob and his staff are professional. They know what they want and where they are going.”

Glenn Hayes, city manager for Guthrie, said Excel-Jet will be located near two other world-class aviation organizations, Zivko Aeronautics and Spirit Wing Aviation.

“That will make for good synergy,” he said.

Hayes said that the cities of Guthrie and Edmond have joined forces to develop Guthrie Municipal Airport (GOK) for use by both communities and have hired a professional airport manager to direct the growth of the airport. They’re also extending runways and improving the approach navigation facilities.

“We’re extremely pleased about relocating to Guthrie, which is also home to Zivko’s Edge 540 aerobatic aircraft and the SpiritLear, which equips Lear Series 20 business jets with new Williams FJ44 turbofans,” Bornhofen said. “Everyone in the city and on the airport shares the same entrepreneurial attitude and business goals we have.”

Excel-Jet says it has been looking for a more GA-compatible environment to support flight-testing and production. “We’re excited about the synergy and potential at Guthrie,” said Bornhofen.

0601031_2.jpgCity officials refer to the airport facility as GEOPORT, for Guthrie Edmond Oklahoma Port for Air Industry and Research. They say GEOPORT has grown more than 95 percent of other airports in Oklahoma. Airframe modification work for the space tourism-oriented Rocketplane was also done in Guthrie by Spirit Wing.

After integrating the FJ33 engine into the Sport-Jet, Excel-Jet will fly the aircraft to its new home in Guthrie to complete the pre-certification flight-testing. The company expects to start certification within a few months of relocating.

“We really didn’t want to start the extensive flight-testing program here and then move in midstream, so we have been delaying this phase until we found a permanent home,” explained Bornhofen.

Excel-Jet’s new Sport-Jet is a 4+1 seat, single-engine, all-glass aircraft aimed at the general aviation pilot. Sport-Jet has been designed for single-person operation by a pilot trained in piston-powered airplanes. Many advanced features and a simplified design eases pilot workload.

“This will contribute significantly to the insurability of the aircraft when operated by nonprofessionals,” Bornhofen said.

Airsure, Ltd. supports his comment, stating, “Weighing in all the factors that are considered for a new aircraft coming to market, we feel encouraged that (Excel-Jet has) developed a product for which we will have no problem developing competitive insurance rates.”

The Sport-Jet will sell for about $1 million and cruise at 340 knots at 25,000 feet (above 95 percent of all weather). The aircraft can carry four persons over 900 nautical miles.

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