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To every taste there is a niche- or so it seems in today’s high-velocity world. Few better examples of our niche-rich world exist than the high-velocity Javelin Mk10 from Aviation Technology Group (ATG) in Englewood- Colorado. A scorcher of a Very Light Jet (VLJ)- the ATG Javelin pretty much owns its own niche – at least- for now.

Dave Higdon   |   1st May 2005
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Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
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ATG’s Javelin Mk10 poised to create new upscale niche in business aviation

To every taste there is a niche- or so it seems in today’s high-velocity world. Few better examples of our niche-rich world exist than the high-velocity Javelin Mk10 from Aviation Technology Group (ATG) in Englewood- Colorado. A scorcher of a Very Light Jet (VLJ)- the ATG Javelin pretty much owns its own niche – at least- for now.

Technically- the Javelin fits within the all-new niche- one of about a half-dozen in active development. It is another entry among several jets with gross weights of around 6-000 pounds and prices a million dollars or more under the nearest existing light jet. Other offerings within the VLJ field include the Adam A700- Avocet ProJet- Diamond D-Jet- Eclipse 500 and Cessna Citation Mustang.

From the perspective of ATG- the Javelin aims to capture some of the market for VLJs. However- the Javelin also arguably stands a niche apart from the other VLJs.

If looks are indeed everything- the Javelin first and foremost stands out by its fighter-like appearance. Some liken the jet to a cross between an F-15 and an F/A-18 – to mainstay combat veterans of the U.S. Air Force- Marines and Navy. Some similarities are visual- and some are operational. The sleek- dart-like Javelin sports twin tails and twin powerplants – as do both the above combat jets.

In another departure from the rest of the VLJ pack- the Javelin also sports seating for only two under a long bubble canopy. No wonder the Javelin Mk10 stands alone; it isn’t necessarily the plane for any corporate flight department needing to transport more than two staffers at a time.

Regardless of the number of seats filled- the front one requires an occupant qualified to pilot a very high performance aircraft- hardly a mainstay qualification on most corporate officer resumes.

The Javelin’s greatest departure from the rest of the VLJ pack comes from its performance. When it comes to speed- the Javelin’s specs read more like a military combat jet than any of its contemporaries. The range numbers hint at the efficiency of the package- while the equipment planned for the panel is as state-of-the-art as anything flying.

And after five years of development progress – with arguably less in the way of delays – this newest entrant into the competition for business aviation sales is poised to move into its flight-test phase with first flight due shortly after this was written.

Speed is only the beginning

As a matter of fact- the Javelin’s cruise better matches a combat jet than almost any civilian jet- today’s sole exception being Cessna’s Citation X (0.92 Mach). Along with a mid-size cabin- the Citation X delivers nearly three times the Javelin’s 1-250-nautical mile range. But range aside- the Javelin aims to fly with the big boys at its own smoking 0.92 Mach.

ATG aims to make the Javelin a value at a current price of about $2.8m – low enough to operate a fleet of five Javelins on the price of a Citation X.

To compliment the two-place cockpit- the Javelin promises luggage capacity of up to 200 pounds in a generously sized bay- giving the diminutive little jet plenty of carrying ability.

Thanks to efficient engines and a slippery design- the ATG also promises among the highest fuel efficiency in a jet. ATG expects the jet to deliver its maximum cruise range (with NBAA IFR reserves) by giving the Javelin a mere 280 gallons of fuel.

Power and performance

ATG tapped Williams International for thrust: A pair of FJ33 powerplants- the same fuel-efficient engine utilized for the Adam A700.

Control for the engines will come from a dual-channel FADEC system that contributes to the engines’ efficiency and operating response.

Some of the advanced technology employed in this next generation engine includes a high bypass ratio supported by cutting-edge wide-fan technology. Together- the two engines combine to produce a thrust-to-weight ratio greater than the supersonic USAF T-38 Talon. That combination of power and light weight – MGTOW is under 6-000 pounds – contributes considerably to the Javelin’s runway performance- another strong suit for this jet.

Stated in balanced-field-length numbers- the Javelin needs only 3-000 feet of runway- opening up a vast majority of paved runways to its use.

The FAR 23 certification standard that ATG is using included approval to aerobatic standards for the engines and the airframe – another departure from jets in the same price and weight ranges. In addition to the strength and stability statement aerobatic certification makes- that same approval also makes the Javelin a design with potential in the military training market.

Plus- aerobatic capabilities add to the Walter Mitty appeal that some bosses may experience. So if the boss wants to fantasize about being Tom Cruise in 'Top Gun' with the occasional snap roll or vertical climb- all that’s needed is the pilot skill – and the stomach – to handle a 10-000 fpm maximum climb rate.

Javelin taps known performers

To match the state-of-the-art construction and powerplants- ATG opted for one of the leaders in state-of-the-art solid-state flight displays- Massachusetts-based Avidyne- to supply its FlightMax Entegra PFD system.

The Javelin FlightMax Entegra system consists of two 10.4-inch-diagonal displays mounted in portrait orientation on both the fore and aft panels. Each panel receives one display that serves as a Primary Flight Display (PFD) and a datalink-enabled Multi-Function Display (MFD).

The PFD shows all the information of more than a dozen individual gauges and instruments- including roll- and pitch-attitude information- an airspeed read-out- gyro and compass heading- altitude- vertical speed and terrain. The attitude indicator uses the entire width of the PFD display and eases the job of staying aware of aircraft attitude.

The FlightMax Entegra's MFD displays navigation information- including flight route on a moving map with color-contoured terrain. The MFD also displays traffic- and datalinked graphical NEXRAD weather information overlayed on the navigation display.

ATG also opted to employ the Entegra’s optional integrated Flight Management System- plus avionics for VHF communication and navigation- a Mode S transponder and dual redundant approach-certified GPS receivers – each capable of supporting ILS- VOR and GPS Instrument approaches to Category I minimums.

ATG designed the high-reliability flight control system to minimize the pilot workload for precise single-pilot IFR operations. The Javelin is even headed for certification for full use of today’s flight in RVSM airspace environment.

Further enhancing the Javelin’s safety and awareness gear are an on-board color weather radar- Traffic Collision Awareness System (TCAS-I) and an Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) – all interfaced with Entegra displays. In other words- a pilot coming out of a modern business jet and into a Javelin should feel right at home – and as well equipped as virtually any contemporary corporate jet.

Safety and training

As noted- ATG plans to certificate the Javelin under FAR Part 23. That plan includes employing the latest amendments covering the flight-control systems- lightning-strike protection- anti-spin aerodynamics- fuel-system requirements- and gust-load levels.

Safety systems designed into the Javelin include fire-extinguishing systems for both powerplants- high-pressure emergency oxygen system- smoke masks and goggles. And that large canopy will offer the required protection against bird strikes. The company’s designers also included ram air ventilation and emergency decompression control.

But even the best systems lose out when the pilot lacks a complete understanding of the aircraft. Since the Javelin requires a type rating as do other multi-engine jet aircraft- the company plans to offer a complete training program. The course syllabus includes ground school- simulator flight training and some actual flight time in the Javelin. A Javelin simulator began operating in 2003 as part of the effort to refine the design. In turn- the simulator traits will match the final aircraft to provide an accurate reflection of the aircraft’s flight.

Type-rating training will be conducted to the highest industry standards and will be included in the price of the Javelin. Pilots with at least 1-500 hours total flight time- 250 hours of turbine time- and a multi-engine rating should find it relatively simple to qualify for a type rating in the Javelin.

For those pilots who lack the required time or qualifications to enter type-rating training- ATG plans to tailor a program or- alternately- recommend other training schools to tailor a course of instruction that gives the prospect the necessary experience- skills and confidence to earn the type rating.

Performance personnel

ATG was incorporated in June of 2000 and is the brainchild of founder- chairman and CEO George Bye. The goal: to produce a certificated jet capable of serving as both a personal civilian aircraft and a trainer and light-attack platform for the military. Bye – who has a deep aviation and aerospace background – knew from his own experience the type of jet that would work.

During 23 years in aviation management positions- Bye previously held position as T-6A Texan II JPATS Project Manager for FlightSafety Services Corporation and a master instructor for NATO flying the T-38 Talon. His 4-000 hours of flight-time cover a wide spectrum of aircraft. But the ability to conceive of an aircraft and even find funds to start it is no guarantee of success. Business aviation is littered with projects that failed because of a lack of experience in other key areas.

As the company continued to grow Bye and the ATG board recognized the need for talent – as well as two aviation business veterans with suitable talent to fill those needs.

One pick lauded by observers came in October 2004 when the company appointed Charlie Johnson as chief operating officer.

Johnson’s career in business aircraft manufacturing began in 1979 when he joined Cessna Aircraft as manager of production flight test. Over the next several years- Johnson served in a variety of posts of increasing responsibility until he was named vice president of aircraft completion and product support in 1988- and then senior vice president of operations five years later- and executive vice president of operations in 1995. In 1997- Cessna elevated Johnson to the position of president and CEO- the post he held until he retired in 2003.

The second major pick of ATG last October was another industry veteran- Horst Bergmann as executive vice-chairman.

A 40-year veteran and former chairman of Jeppesen- Bergmann’s background includes a stint in the German Air Force in his native country. After matriculating from Harvard’s Advanced Management Program he joined Jeppesen and began working his way up through management until his 1988 appointment as president and chairman of the chart-and-plate maker. He retired after shepherding the purchase of Jeppesen by the Boeing Co.

Coming events

As noted previously- ATG expects to log the first flight of the Javelin Mk10 at any time. That first flight inaugurates a period of flight-testing and certification work expected to yield FAA approval in late 2007.

But even before that work proceeds- ATG has been busy developing its marketing network and plans to spin off the Javelin from its civilian roots. For example- last fall- ATG signed an agreement with Israeli Aircraft Industries to jointly develop and manufacture an advanced jet trainer for the military market worldwide.

Earlier this year- ATG signed another agreement – a Memorandum of Understanding – with Lockheed-Martin anticipating cooperation between the companies in international industrial cooperation programs.

ATG plans to employ Lockheed Martin’s resources to assist with FAA type certification for Javelin aircraft production. Under the MOU- according to the companies- Lockheed Martin will provide lean manufacturing assessment and training and supply chain management assistance to mutually agreed international company participants. The idea is to make the Javelin available as subkits for assembly by certain customers at selected Lockheed Martin offset participants in countries with significant aerospace resources.

Meanwhile- ATG has added an R&D facility and is putting the finishing touches on the first prototype and preparing to hand off the aircraft to the flight-test crew in preparation for that long-anticipated first flight.

In the time after first flight- ATG expects to complete certification- complete a factory and move forward with initial production with the goal of making its first customer deliveries in 2007.

Already commitments totaling more than 100 aircraft are in hand – a line likely to only grow longer during the next two years. And some of those buyers are working on their flying skills in anticipation of taking the controls of the ultimate niche jet – one that satisfies the executive- the executive aviator and the accountant.

More information from www.avtechgroup.com

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