PROGRAMME: Designed by Burt Rutan, with designation M-309 denoting his 309th aircraft design; development started September 1999; proof-of-concept aircraft (N309A), manufactured by Scaled Composites Inc, first flown at Mojave, California, 21 March 2000; formally rolled out 5 April 2000; total of 80 flight hours completed by the time of public debut at EAA AirVenture 2000 at Oshkosh in July 2000 and 155 hours by EAA AirVenture 2001; second aircraft, designated A500, and in proposed production configuration, first flew (N500AX) 11 July 2002 at Centennial Airport, Denver. First production fuselage, completed January 2002, used for promotional display; three conforming production aircraft to participate in FAA FAR Pt 23 IFR certification, using FAA's Certification Process Improvement programme including flight into known icing; no carry-forward certification from M-309 trials, and this aircraft had been withdrawn from use by mid-2002. Second A500 prototype (N501AX) flew 18 February 2003; first with winglets. Certification expected in fourth quarter 2003 in USA with deliveries starting immediately; certification in Europe will follow six months later. Production target 40 to 50 in 2004.
CURRENT VERSIONS: M-309: Original proof-of-concept model.
A500: Production version with changes to wing span, length, flying controls and door positioning; as described.
A family of aircraft, ultimately stretched to seat 19 passengers, is planned.
CUSTOMERS: Orders for more than 100 received by March 2003. Customers include AirScan of Florida, which has ordered two, with 30 options, for surveillance and security missions.
COSTS: Programme less than US$100 million; unit cost US$935,000 (both 2003).
DESIGN FEATURES: Twin-boom configuration with swept fins and high-set tailplane; unswept low wings have dihedral on outboard panels and small winglets. Tractor/pusher power plant simplifies handling with single engine failure.
FLYING CONTROLS: Conventional and manual. Flaperons of M-309 replaced by separate ailerons and Fowler flaps. Trim tab in each aileron (flight adjustable). Full-width elevator with tab and external mass balance. Twin rudders have no tabs. No flaps on proof-of-concept aircraft; production aircraft will have separate flaps.
STRUCTURE: Single-cure graphite carbon composite with no secondary bonds of fasteners. Proof-of-concept aircraft has three-spar main wing spar, but production aircraft will have a single-piece spar, with wing mounted lower than on POC aircraft to minimise spar carry-through in carbon. Wing attached by four bolts to fuselage.
LANDING GEAR: Retractable tricycle type, with single wheel on each unit; trailing link suspension on main units. All wheels retract rearwards; mainwheels 6.00-6, nosewheel 15x6.0-6. Hydraulic brakes.
POWER PLANT: Two 261 kW (350 hp) Teledyne Continental TSIO-550-E flat-six piston engines, with optional TCM/Aerosance FADEC, mounted in centreline thrust configuration and driving a three-blade Hartzell FC7663D-2R scimitar-bladed propeller at the front and a three-blade Hartzell FLC7663DF-2RX at rear. Fuel capacity 946 litres (250 US gallons; 208 Imp gallons) in outer wing tanks of which 871 litres (230 US gallons; 192 Imp gallons) are usable.
ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and five passengers in pressurised cabin on three pairs of leather seats. Door with integral airstair on port side, ahead of wing leading edge; emergency window on starboard side. Integrated ventral baggage pod optional.
SYSTEMS: Pressurisation system maintains a 2,440 m (8,000 ft) cabin environment at 7,620 m (25,000 ft). Vapour-cycle air conditioning system. Optional TKS liquid de-icing system for wing and tailplane leading-edges; windscreen and propeller have electrically heated de-icing.
AVIONICS: Comms: Dual Garmin GNS 530 GPS/NAV/COM/ILS, Garmin MA 340 audio panel and Garmin GTX 327 transponder, all standard; GTX 330 transponder, GDL 49 WX Datalink transceiver, and Aircell AT.02 communications system with wireless handset, optional.
Radar: Weather radar in wing-mounted pod optional.
Flight: S-Tec System FiftyFive X autopilot standard; L-3 Comm WX-500 Stormscope and Skywatch, and Ryan 99009 BX TCAD, optional.
Instrumentation: Avidyne FlightMax Entegra system comprising two 26 cm (10.4) diagonal, high-resolution, sunlight-readable PFDs, each incorporating ADAHRS, EADI and EHSI functions; dual Vision Microsystems VM1000 EMS.