This elegant push-pull could have been the most significant small utility design since the Cessnas... had Adam not gone bankrupt.


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

Wing span: 44.0 ft
Length: 36.7 ft
Height: 9.5 ft
Cabin length: 13.6 ft
Cabin width: 4.5 ft
Cabin height: 4.3 ft

Engines Teledyne Continental Motors
Propellers: Hartzell 3-Blade Scimitar
Landing Gear: Retractable, trailing link
Pressurization: 8,000 ft cabin at 25,000 ft
Airframe: Carbon composite

Aircraft loading capacity:
Maximum ramp weight: 7,050 lb
Gross weight: 7,000 lb
Standard empty weight: 5,160 lb
Aircraft useful load: 1,890 lb
Maximum useable fuel capacity: 220 gal / 1,290 lb

Maximum speed: 250 KTAS (22,000 ft)
Maximum cruise (75% Power): 230 KTAS (22,000 ft)
Economy cruise (60% Power): 200 KTAS (22,000 ft)
Stall speed (Flaps, Gear Down): 75 KCAS
Max Rate of Climb (Sea level, both engines): 1,368 fpm
Max Rate of Climb (Sea level, single engine): 227 fpm
Range (NBAA with IFR Reserve): 22,000 ft
Max Cruise (Full fuel): 1,050 nm
Economy Cruise (Full fuel): 1,150 nm
Maximum certified operating altitude (Both engines operating): 25,000 ft
Maximum certified operating altitude (Single engine operation): 16,000 ft
Takeoff performance - Sea level ground roll: 2,068 ft
Takeoff performance - Sea level (over 50 ft obstacle): 2,471 ft
Landing performance - Sea level ground roll: 1,818 ft
Landing performance - Sea level (over 50 ft obstacle): 2,471 ft

* 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 passengers

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