DALLAS – Today in Aviation, the prototype Advanced Aerodynamics and Structures Inc. (AASI) Jetcruzer 450 performed its maiden flight in 1989. This unique aircraft was first developed back in 1983. Construction began in 1988.
The unpressurized Jetcruzer 450 had a unique design and is easily recognizable. With a large flight deck and cabin windows, it could carry five passengers plus a single pilot. Two large vertical stabilizers on each end of the large wing were also tilted inwards.
A World First
A rigorous testing program began on the three prototypes that were constructed. On June 14, 1994, FAA certification was granted, and the type became the first in the world to be certified as spin resistant.
But the 450 was never put into production. Instead, AASI decided to develop a larger, pressurized variant known as the Jetcruzer 500. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-66A five-blade propellor engine, the fuselage was stretched by 90 cm (3 feet). Seating capacity remained the same as before.
The 500 took to the skies for the first time on August 22, 1997. Orders began to roll in, eventually totaling 200. A military variant, the ML-2, was also offered, as was an uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) known as the ML-1. But problems with the type’s center of gravity, noise, and high stall speed led to certification being withheld.
In 1992 work began on a larger variant known as the Jetcruzer 650. This would have been capable of carrying 13 passengers. However, AASI’s mounting losses led to the project being abandoned.
Despite first taking flight in 1989, by 2002, the Jetcruzer still needed to be put into production. In November 2003, the company put the Jetcruzer’s assets up for sale. They were purchased by Innova Aircraft.
Featured image courtesy: Barrie Aircraft Museum