Sino Swearingen’s SJ30 touched down at 10am on Sunday at Farnborough, breaking two world records as the wheels hit the runway.
The preproduction prototype is the first light jet in its class to cross the Atlantic in one hop on standard fuel tanks, creating a new speed record as it did so. The aircraft landed with around 560lb (250kg) of fuel remaining from an initial load of 4,850lbs.
Crewed by Sino Swearingen’s chief test pilot John Siemens and Hamish Harding, chairman of UK distributor Action Aviation, the SJ30 flew from San Antonio Texas to Goose Bay, Labrador and then from Goose Bay directly to Farnborough, a distance of 4,400nm (8,100km).
Harding trained on the record breaking aircraft, N50SJ, and was the first aircraft owner to be rated on the type.
The journey took 10h 24min, with a 42min stop at Goose Bay. Says Siemens: “I felt really excited beforehand. It was a great flight.”
Because the aircraft did not have an HF installed, it had to take a longer transatlantic crossing route. Siemens says that they will attempt the record again once the kit is on board. “We can shave another 300nm off the distance, which translates to around 45min off the time,” he says.
Flight Daily News has been tracking the attempt, which had to be registered with the US National Aerospace Association in order to stand as a record. Hamish Harding says: “The clock starts ticking as soon as the wheels start rolling, so it was real ‘balls to the wall’ time as soon as they started.”
TheSJ30 has a sea level cabin pressurisation up to 41,000ft (12,500m), is certificated for single pilot operations and has a maximum speed of 486kt (900km/h). It has an IFR range of 2,500nm and a ceiling of 49,000ft.
Says Harding: “We’ve sold 33 aircraft since November and seen strong interest from the Middle East and Russia.” He adds that two ministries of defence have expressed an interest in using the SJ30 to track missiles and in electronic warfare for fast jet radar profiling.
Action Aviation placed 159 non-refundable deposits on SJ30s last year and has sold 33 aircraft since November. The company also plans to offer a fractional ownership programme along the lines of shared ownership groups run by many general aviation aircraft owners, where people book time on the aircraft.
“We will manage their asset and help them book time on machine.”
**Reproduced from press report by Liz Moscrop in Flight International magazine.