Company to build jets in Altus

Thursday, May 9th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(ALTUS) - High-performance executive jets will be built in southwest Oklahoma under an agreement signed by a Colorado company and a local aircraft manufacturer.

A 120,000-square-foot facility owned by Luscombe Aircraft Company Corp. of Altus would be the production center for the Javelin executive jet developed by Aviation Technology Group Inc. of Englewood, Colo., the companies announced Wednesday.

The two-seat Javelin jet would sell for $1.88 million and is designed to achieve a top speed of nearly Mach 1 _ or nearly the speed of sound _ and fly at altitudes of up to 51,000 feet.

The aircraft is in the design stage and must receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration before production begins.

Aviation Technology President George E. Bye said the company plans to start building the first working prototype in Altus this summer and hopes to build a version that customers can buy in early 2005.

``This is for the pilot-owner who flies himself or flies with a pilot to meetings. Businessmen do that every day, but right now the only option they have is to fly a relatively large cabin-class type plane,'' Bye said. ``There's a prestige about flying a Javelin. It has a fighter-like appearance akin to a Maserati or Porsche. There isn't anything like this.''

The company also is planning to develop military versions of the plane that could be used for homeland defense as an interceptor that could carry armament or as unmanned aircraft for reconnaissance.

``The military variant is a wonderful opportunity for us to support the defense of our nation, but it's not an essential component of the viability of the program,'' he said.