After years of exploring the dream of a jet-powered Aerostar, Aerostar Aircraft of Boise, Idaho, is test-flying a Pratt & Whitney re-engined airplane. Company president Jim Christy flew the twinjet to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for AirVenture in July. The airplane, which has very little time on it, is still a work in progress, though the most critical part, the engines and their mounts, are fully engineered.
Christy said that even though he has been limited to 28,000 feet in the non-RVSM-approved airplane, the performance he has been seeing — 380 knots true at high fuel burns — will translate into better than 400 knots at 35,000 feet (the expected ceiling) with the miserly fuel flows more closely associated with the P&W 615 engines (the same engines as on the Cessna Citation Mustang). With the Aerostar’s nice cabin and great flying manners, the combination could be a winner, Christy said.
The program is still in its infancy. At this point Christy isn’t even sure what form the final product will take, as a type certificate at a price that would likely start at around $1.5 million plus an airframe or as an all-new product that would likely require a serious equity partner to produce.