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Stratos Debuts Kit-Built VLJ

Experimental jet is based on model 714 personal jet unveiled here last year

By James Wynbrandt

July 23, 2018 - Stratos Aircraft has introduced the Stratos 716X, an experimental kit VLJ based on the Stratos 714 single-engine personal jet the Redmond, Oregon, company debuted at last year’s fly-in.

The six-place 714 was projected to have a top speed of 400 knots true airspeed, a 41,000-foot service ceiling, and 1,500 nm range and the 716X is expected to deliver similar performance. An owner-assist build program will be included in the kit’s cost, and the first 716X is under construction by the unidentified launch customer, said Stratos engineering manager Carsten Sundin. The price of the kit will be announced in the fourth quarter after the company develops the kit building process, he said.

Program director John Hadlich estimated build time would require about 2,500 hours and could be completed in six months. However, the 716X is simply a bridge to a Part 23-certified Stratos 716 aircraft the company intends to build, Sundin said pointing to the path Epic Aircraft is blazing in bringing its experimental kitbuilt Epic LT turboprop to the certified market as the E1000.

Stratos (Main Aircraft Display Booths 16-17) already has significant design and machining capability and manufacturing capacity, and can make 99 percent of the aircraft parts in house, Sundin said. The company is fully funded for kit production and will seek additional investment for the certified version after the 716X and its build processes have been refined. Once those funds are in place, certification would take four years, Hadlich said.

Since last year’s unveiling of the Stratos VLJ, the 714 prototype has completed an additional 185 hours of flight time on 130 test flights the company said, and has been flown at altitudes of 25,000 feet and airspeeds up to 370 ktas. Noted test pilot Dave Morss, who has a lead role in the flight-test program, said the 714 has been, “a pleasure to fly,” singling out the sidestick control as a feature he particularly enjoys.

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