The Grob SPn Utility Jet is unique in the world of business jets: it combines the luxury of a private jet with the capabilities of an off-road utility vehicle. It can be used as a luxury executive jet to fly to meetings across the country or it can just as easily be converted to deliver freight to remote airports with unpaved runways. The name of this unusually versatile aircraft is fitting: “SPn” means exponential possibilities to the nth degree.
The cabin of the Grob SPn is easily the largest of any private jet in the light jet category with a volume of 405 cubic feet. This easily surpasses the cabin volumes of the SPn’s closest-priced competitors: the 305 ft³ cabin of the Hawker 400XP, the 283 ft³ CJ3 cabin, and the 363 ft³ Lear 40 cabin. Grob Aerospace chose Porsche Design Studio to create the interior of the SPn. The result was a clean, elegant cabin design that combined luxury with efficiency. Buyers of the SPn can choose between an eight-passenger business layout or a six-seat executive design. Both layouts include a fully enclosed lavatory and a galley.
Keeping with the SPn’s versatile design, the cabin is equipped to be used as an in-air office, with six 100-volt power outlets, fold-out work tables, and an optional satellite communications system. A total of 52 cubic feet of baggage space is available in aft and forward compartments, but some or all of the seats may be easily removed to make room for cargo. Regardless of whether the cabin is used for in-air business meetings or for carrying a couple of passengers and their mountain bikes to a remote airport, the elegant and efficient comfort of the SPn cabin will never cease to impress.
The exterior design of the Grob SPn exhibits the same impeccable attention to detail. Grob Aerospace states that the clean-sheet design of the Grob SPn gave them complete freedom innovate and create a more efficient, lighter aircraft design than would be available to private jet manufacturers who are fettered to modifying previous aircraft models. The fuselage and wings are made completely out of carbon fiber, resulting in a strong, light airframe that is more corrosion-resistant than the metal airframes of competing private jets. The expected design life of the Grob SPn is 28,000 hours.
Although the sleek, aerodynamic exterior of the SPn looks like it would be at home on the runway of a world-class airport, it is equally capable of landing on grass or gravel runways. It has a balanced field length of 3,000 feet. The SPn’s great runway performance combined with its strong range-to-payload capabilities provides for a flexibility in mission planning not available to other private jets of its class. When loaded to its maximum payload of 2,491 lbs, the SPn can fly 1,170 nautical miles with required NBAA IFR reserves and a 200 nm alternate. Alternately, it can fly 1,600 nm with one pilot, six passengers, and the previously mentioned reserves.
The all-glass cockpit of the Grob SPn is based on the Honeywell Primus Apex system. It features two 15-inch PFDs and two 10-inch MFDs. Full EICAS comes standard, as does TCAS and EGWPS. The technology in the cockpit is both advanced and easy to operate, allowing the Grob SPn to be operated by a single pilot. FADEC control, for example, simultaneously optimizes the performance of the SPn’s two rear-mounted Williams FJ44-3A engines while cutting pilot workload.
The Grob SPn successfully combines business-jet luxury with practical features not found in elsewhere in the private jet market. The innovation and creativity of the Grob SPn is apparent in every detail of its design, particularly the unique cabin. Grob Aerospace has already received more than 70 confirmed orders for the $7.5 million private jet, including a bulk order from a major fractional operator. The “target” market for such an aircraft is difficult to define, as the worlds of business luxury and practical utility are usually seen as mutually exclusive. Perhaps it is fitting that the Grob SPn defies categorization, since, as its name suggests, it is meant to be an aircraft of limitless possibilities.