Another impressive machine making its debut at Oshkosh was the Stratos 716X. This is the Experimental, kit-built version of the forthcoming FAR Part 23/EASA CS 23 certified Stratos 716.

The six-seat 716 gets its name from its 0.7 Mach (402kt) cruise speed (the ‘7’)and single (‘1’) turbofan engine. It can cruise at 41,000ft, with a maximum range of 1,500nm. 

Explaining the market rationale for the model, Stratos President Carsten Sundin said: “People want the high-altitude speed, quiet and smoothness of a jet. But, up until now, many of them have been priced out of the top end of the market. They’ve had to settle for prop airplanes that typically fly 15,000ft lower and 150kt slower than modern jets. At Stratos, our goal is to lower the cost of owning and operating a jet to turboprop levels.”

The Experimental category 716X is a stepping-stone to the Stratos certified 716. It has the same aerodynamics, and it’s built to the same strength standards as the certified model. 

Starting in 2022, Stratos plans to offer twelve 716X kits, helping the firm refine its manufacturing processes and assembly line efficiencies before production of certified aircraft at some future date.

The $2.5m 716X will offer 95% of the performance of the 716, but cost $1m less. The kitplane can be ready to fly ‘in as little as nine months’, using Stratos’ builder-assist affiliate firms.

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