Stratos Names New CEO, Touts Latest Personal Jet ProjectA

The dream persists. Stratos Aircraft of Bend, Oregon, introduced its new CEO during the NBAA convention this week, and has a cabin mockup of its single-engine Stratos 714 personal jet on display. Alexander Craig has held high-level positions at aviation companies, including Honeywell International and Williams International. He admits the Stratos 714 has a long way to go, but Craig maintains there are elements of the aircraft that set it apart from previous projects and also current competitors, such as the Diamond D-jet, which the Stratos closely resembles. The 714 is designed to fly as high as 41,000 feet at 400 knots (Mach .70). It will carry four (perhaps five) occupants in its spacious cabin up to 1,500 miles. The carbon fiber fuselage optimizes aerodynamic ducting to the two engine inlets on either side, and Craig said he believes the composite fuselage will allow the 714 to retain sufficient pressurization in the event of an engine failure at high altitude. Though Stratos has begun accepting returnable deposits for the 714, a number of vital questions remain unanswered. Stratos has not yet decided on an engine (Williams FJ443AP is the frontrunner, though Craig said he is talking to Pratt & Whitney Canada as well), avionics have not been announced, nor has a deicing system been finalized. Also still under wraps are Stratos' plans for a training partner and a service network. Craig also declined to discuss a timeline for development and first flight of a proof of concept aircraft. He said he prefers to wait until the company is closer to decisions on all those questions. "I'd prefer to underpromise and overdeliver," he said.