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11th of July 2002

It was on this day in aviation history in 2002 that the prototype Adam A500 made its first flight.

The six-seat Adam A500 is based on M-309 CarbonAero technology demonstrator designed by Burt Rutan.

M-309 CarbonAero technology demonstrator

The M-309 was the 309th design that Burt Rutan designed, it made its first flight in the spring of 2000 and is now an empty shell for display purposes. The Adam A500 has a carbon fibre epoxy composite with a honeycomb (Nomex) core structure with a pressurised fuselage. The push-pull configuration of the engines (Teledyne Continental TSIO-550E) resulted in less air resistance and avoided asymmetric thrust issues in case of an engine failure. During evaluation flights in 2007, it became apparent that the A500 was about 1260 lb over its design weight (The design empty weight in 2003 was 4200 lb, while s/n 007 weighed 5460 lb!)

With a full fuel load, the maximum payload was only 160 lb, well below the design payload of 720 lb. This means that with fuel tanks filled to capacity (230 US Gallon) the aircraft could not carry a standard weight pilot!

Adam A500 in flight

After the completion of the test flight program, the aircraft received its certification from the FAA in May 2005 and production commenced. With plans on the drawing board to tackle the payload issue, Adam Aircraft filed for bankruptcy in February of 2008 ending the production of the aircraft after only 7 were built.

The 5 remaining aircraft now suffer from a lack of spares as currently it is not considered economically viable to set up support for the aircraft. Some specifications for the Adam A500:

  • Crew: one

  • Capacity: five passengers

  • Length: 37 ft 6 in (11.43 m)

  • Wingspan: 44 ft 0 in (13.41 m)

  • Height: 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m)

  • Airfoil: NASA LS(1)-0417

  • Empty weight: 5,350 lb (2,427 kg)

  • Gross weight: 7,000 lb (3,175 kg)

  • Fuel capacity: 230 gal (872 litres)

  • Powerplant: 2 × Teledyne Continental TSIO-550E , 350 hp (260 kW) each

  • Maximum speed: 225 kn (259 mph, 417 km/h)

  • Cruise speed: 220 kn (250 mph, 410 km/h)

  • Stall speed: 75 kn (86 mph, 139 km/h) in landing configuration with gear and flaps down

  • Range: 892 nmi (1,026 mi, 1,652 km) at 75% power

  • Ferry range: 1,286 nmi (1,480 mi, 2,382 km) at 45% power

  • Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,600 m) maximum certified ceiling, 14900 feet on one engine

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