Customer: Adam Aircraft Industries
Type: proof-of-concept vehicle for push-pull six-seat civil utility transport
Program: M309 (proprietary)
Powerplant: 2 x TCM TSIO-550 piston engines
First flight: 21 March 2000
The Model 309 (or Adam M309) was a proof-of-concept technology demonstrator for a civil utility transport aircraft of unusual "push-pull" configuration, with a mounted in both the nose and tail ends of the fuselage. It was designed by Burt Rutan (its "309" designation refers to this being his 309th aircraft design) and built by Scaled Composites for Adam Aircraft Industries of Denver, Colorado. Their goal was to provide both a very safe twin-engine aircraft that gives good performance and benign single engine handling qualities, and an aircraft that incorporates technology in the way of composite structure and modern avionics—a pilot-friendly cockpit that really brings the computer-age to the instrument panel.
The centerline thrust configuration was chosen because it significantly reduces the hazards of single-engine flying qualities and performance, compared to twins in the conventional arrangement. The cabin was designed to carry a pilot and five passengers in pressurized comfort with an unpressurized baggage space in the nose, and the remainder of baggage residing in the cabin aft of the rear seats. It was powered by two Continental TSIO-550-G engines that give good high-altitude performance and provide pressurization. The tricycle landing gear was retractable with the trailing-link mains folding into the booms.
The immediate goal of this program was to develop the aircraft for aerodynamic refinement; however, there were several features that are more representative of the production airplane than might be expected. For instance, there are several major structural components that were produced as single cure parts. The outboard wings, horizontal tail, elevator, rudders and flaperons had no secondary bonds in their primary structure. This allows lighter, stronger and safer structure due to the significant elimination of fasteners and secondary bonds.
This project marks the most rapid manned-aircraft development program in Scaled’s history. Conceptual design started in May of 1999, the first tool was cut late in August, and the first flight was on March 21, 2000. The aircraft was unveiled to a small group of guests on April 5, 2000. After an aggressive flight test and refinement program, the aircraft was delivered to Adam, and put into development as the Adam A500 'CarbonAero'. The M309 was displayed outside the Adam Aircraft Industries headquarters for a while, and can now be viewed on display at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum.
Population: 1 [N309A] (c/n 001)
NOTE: All specs given for Model 500 production version
Aircraft loading capacity:
* All performance and specifications from sea level to 12,500 ft. are from the Type Certificate. Performance and specifications above 12,500 ft. are extrapolated from the Type Certificate and additional company flight test results. Final performance and specifications above 12,500 ft., IFR, Night, and pressurized flight will be available concurrent with volume deliveries in the third quarter of 2005.
Crew/passengers: 1 pilot, 5 passengersMain sources: