Photo by Will Dent
ARRIVALS | PLANES IN THE PIPELINE
When demand for jets plummeted during the recession, aircraft manufacturers delayed development and production of new models. The recession also prompted many jet owners to try selling their aircraft earlier than they had planned, thus flooding the secondary market with high-quality jets, which further hurt the market for new planes.
Now, as the economy improves and the industry steadies itself, new aircraft that had stalled in manufacturers’ pipelines are finally moving forward. The forthcoming models spotlighted in the “Arrivals” section of this feature generally offer better performance, comfort, safety, and efficiency than existing planes, but it will be years before some of them enter service. Meanwhile, as shown in the “Standbys” section, a number of older aircraft could represent great deals for buyers seeking to spend less money and less time waiting.
the canadian manufacturer Bombardier is investing heavily in its future fleet, especially in its Learjet line of business jets, which are being produced in Wichita, Kan. The Learjet 70, an $11 million light jet that was introduced in May, is an upgrade of the 10-year-old Learjet 40. Bombardier expects to begin deliveries of the aircraft early next year. Much of the makeover is borrowed from the clean-sheet design of the Learjet 85. It includes the addition of lots of storage space and productivity tools in the cabin and the Garmin G5000 avionics suite in the cockpit. The G5000 utilizes three 14-inch touchscreen panels and high levels of automation to reduce pilot workload. The jet’s new winglets make it more aerodynamic, and new Honeywell engines add power and reduce fuel burn. The combination produces a cruise speed of 535 mph at altitudes as high as 51,000 feet, which is well above any weather disturbances. The jet can fly more than 2,300 miles nonstop while carrying as many as seven passengers in its 18-foot-long cabin.
Bombardier is also preparing the Learjet 75, an upgrade of its 10-year-old Learjet 45 model. Deliveries of the $13.5 million light-midsize jet are expected to begin in the first half of 2013. The Learjet 75 offers virtually the same performance capabilities as the Learjet 70; it has the same winglets, Honeywell engines, and Garmin G5000 avionics. But its cabin is more than 2 feet longer and accommodates as many as nine passengers.
The midsize Learjet 85, which the company launched in 2007, is nearing final development, certification, and production. First deliveries of the nearly $20 million aircraft are expected to take place next year. Designed from the ground up, the Learjet 85 will fly faster and farther than any other Learjet. Final performance figures are pending, but Bombardier’s targets are a maximum speed of 541 mph and a range beyond 3,400 miles. The 85 is the first Learjet built with a composite structure, which is strong, light, and easy to maintain, and minimizes drag. It has an all-new interior design that includes more cabin volume, bigger windows, and superior ergonomics compared to earlier Learjets. The cabin carries as many as 10 passengers in a double-club seating arrangement.
In addition to augmenting its Learjet line, Bombardier has developed not one but two large-cabin, ultralong-range jets. The Global 7000 has an enormous cabin: 59.6 feet between the cockpit and the aft bulkhead, which makes it very flexible in terms of layout. Owners can have it configured with a stand-up shower, a dining area, and a private office. The base configuration seats 17 people very comfortably, and each seat reclines fully—a useful feature for a plane with an 8,400-mile range. The jet is expected to be priced at $68.9 million and to enter service in early 2016. The Global 7000 will require only 5,950 feet of runway to take off at sea level. It will have a cruise speed of 564 mph and a cruise altitude of 51,000 feet. A caveat is the aircraft’s 106,000-pound weight when carrying its capacity of passengers and fuel; this could restrict takeoffs and landings at certain general-aviation airports.
With a range of approximately 9,000 miles, the Global 8000 will be able to link an unprecedented number of city pairs, including New York and Mumbai or Sydney and Los Angeles. It will travel about 1,000 miles farther than its closest competitor, and the engines developed for this aircraft give it the lowest fuel burn and lowest emissions of any jet in the ultralong-range class. Yet the jet will travel at speeds as fast as 594 mph. The Global 8000 is expected to have a price of about $66.3 million, and Bombardier plans to begin deliveries in early 2017.
Although it has a smaller cabin than the 7000—50 feet long—the Global 8000 can accommodate as many as 19 passengers in fully reclining seats. Like the 7000, this aircraft will have a maximum takeoff weight that is greater than 100,000 pounds, which can make it subject to weight restrictions at some airports. —Mary Grady and Michelle Seaton
Cessna recently announced plans to produce a pair of new Citation business jets, adding to a portfolio that soon will include a new piston aircraft (see “Getting Personal” sidebar, page 55), light jet, and speedy midsize jet.
Unveiled last fall, the Citation M2 will be a step up from the Citation Mustang, which has more than 400 units in operation. The company hopes that Mustang owners looking to upgrade will choose the M2. But with a nearly $4.2 million price, competitive performance, and single-pilot operation, the M2 might also appeal to first-time buyers who plan to operate the jet themselves. The Wichita, Kan.–based manufacturer expects to deliver the M2, which flew for the first time in March, by the end of next year. The jet’s cabin offers seats for as many as six passengers and a private lavatory, which many Mustang owners requested for the new jet. Cessna’s performance expectations for the M2 include a maximum cruise speed of 460 mph, which is roughly 70 mph quicker than the Mustang, and a range approaching 1,500 miles, which bests the Mustang’s by a little under 200 miles. Cessna’s proprietary cabin-management system, an option for the M2, provides an easy user interface. The cockpit features Garmin’s intuitive touchscreen G3000 avionics suite.
Announced in 2010, the Citation Ten is on track to enter service by 2014. It will eventually replace Cessna’s popular Citation X, which entered service in 1996. The new midsize jet, priced at about $21.5 million, will offer improved performance, upgraded avionics, and increased capacities compared to its predecessor. Two new Rolls-Royce engines boost the Ten’s power output by about 300 pounds of thrust over the X, helping it achieve a cruise speed faster than 600 mph and become the speediest jet in Cessna’s fleet. Its range is beyond 3,700 miles, which is about 200 miles greater than the X’s range. The new engines and the addition of winglets will also improve the Ten’s fuel efficiency. The Ten will be the first business jet to feature Garmin’s new G5000 avionics suite. The cabin of the Ten, which holds as many as 12 passengers, is more than a foot longer than that of the X and includes redesigned interior appointments and seats. The upgraded cabin-management system features touchscreen panels and wireless connectivity for personal devices.
If all goes according to plan, the next jet to roll off Cessna’s assembly line after the M2 and Ten will be the midsize Citation Latitude, which the company calls a game changer. First deliveries of the $14.9 million jet are expected to begin in 2015. With an all-new design that includes a 7-foot-wide cabin (the largest in Cessna’s fleet), the nine-passenger Latitude will certainly shake up the midsize segment. Cessna announced the Latitude at the annual National Business Aviation Association convention last October. The jet’s cabin offers 6 feet of headroom, a flat floor, extralarge windows, and all the latest touchscreen and LED technologies. Like the Ten, the Latitude will be equipped with the G5000 avionics suite. Cessna expects the jet to cruise faster than 500 mph and travel as far as about 2,650 miles without refueling.
Following the Latitude into operation will be the largest and longest-range jet in Cessna’s lineup, the super-midsize Citation Longitude, which the company unveiled in May. Deliveries of the $26 million jet are expected to begin in 2017. The Longitude’s eight-passenger, flat-floor cabin is as wide as the Latitude’s, but at 31 feet, it is 4 feet longer. The jet will be equipped with the Garmin G5000 avionics suite and a pair of new engines that will power it to a maximum cruise speed of about 650 mph. With a range of about 4,600 miles, the Latitude will be able to fly from New York to Paris without refueling. The French-built Snecma engines are the industry’s most fuel efficient and are expected to require less-frequent maintenance. —Bailey S. Barnard and Mary Grady
Embraer’s two forthcoming models will fill out the Brazilian manufacturer’s fleet of executive jets, which ranges from the entry-level Phenom 100 to the ultralarge-cabin Lineage 1000. Embraer expects the first of its two new jets, the Legacy 500, to reach customers by early 2014. Introduced in 2008, the all-new midsize jet will be able to carry as many as eight passengers from coast to coast in virtually any wind conditions without refueling (the seating capacity is 10 passengers). A pair of Honeywell engines will enable the jet to reach its initial cruise altitude of 43,000 feet in just 22 minutes and achieve speeds faster than 540 mph. The cabin, designed in conjunction with BMW Group DesignworksUSA, is 6 feet tall and nearly 7 feet wide and has a flat floor. Each pair of facing club seats in the cabin folds down to create a conjoined sleeping berth. The $19.9 million jet will be equipped with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics suite, which features four 15.1-inch high-definition flight displays and fly-by-wire flight controls.
Following the Legacy 500 into operation will be the slightly shorter (by about 4 feet) and slightly less capable $16.5 million light-midsize Legacy 450, which is on track to enter service by the end of 2014. In addition to having the same Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics in the cockpit and Honeywell Ovation Select control and entertainment system in the nine-passenger cabin, the jet will use the same Honeywell engines as the Legacy 500 to achieve a roughly 2,650-mile range and speeds beyond 540 mph, making the Legacy 450 faster than any light-midsize jet currently in production. —B.S.B.
in developing the G280, a $25 million super-midsize jet that Gulfstream plans to begin delivering later this year, the Savannah, Ga.–based manufacturer overhauled the cabin of the popular G200 and added new engines, a high-speed wing configuration, and a T tail. The changes produce a 23 percent boost in thrust and a 21 percent improvement in runway performance that lops 1,333 feet off the jet’s required takeoff distance. The G280 has a range of around 4,100 miles (when carrying four passengers), enabling it to fly from New York to London without a fuel stop. The cabin is nearly 26 feet long and can seat as many as 10 passengers. The jet also has 154 cubic feet of baggage space, which is fully accessible in flight.
With a maximum cruise speed beyond 700 mph, the G650 may be the fastest civil aircraft ever built. It flies faster than most jets carrying less than half its weight. Even its long-range cruise speed is 608 mph. Deliveries of this roughly $64 million aircraft are expected to begin by the end of this year. When measured by performance-related factors other than speed—runway requirements, cruising altitude, and range—the G650 is comparable to the G550. Yet it is much more than a new iteration of that earlier aircraft. The brand-new 54-foot-long cabin is oval shaped, which allows for 8 feet 6 inches of width and 6 feet 5 inches of headroom. It can seat as many as 18 passengers and can maintain a cabin altitude of just 4,850 feet while flying at a ceiling of 51,000 feet. —M.S.
Like the prospects for Hawker Beechcraft, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May and in July entered into funding negotiations with Chinese aircraft manufacturer Superior Aviation, the future of the Hawker 200 remains up in the air (see “Over the Rainbow,” page 41). At one time, the Wichita, Kan.–based company expected to begin delivering the 200 by the end of 2012 and had priced it at $7.5 million. Now it is unclear whether the single-pilot, six-passenger jet will ever go into production. This aircraft was designed to be an updated version of Beechcraft’s popular Premier 1A light jet, with better thrust, a higher cruise speed, and longer range. The Hawker 200 was going to have a maximum range of 1,870 miles, a cruise speed of 544 mph, and a ceiling of 45,000 feet. If produced, it will compare favorably to Cessna’s CJ series and Embraer’s Phenom 300. —M.S.
Hawker Beechcraft, www.hawkerbeechcraft.com
GETTING PERSONAL: NEW AIRCRAFT FOR OWNER-PILOTS
With its latest piston-driven model, the Corvallis TTX (www.cessna.com), Cessna is offering an alternative to the Cirrus SR22T. Unveiled last March, the TTX is expected to enter service by the end of this year. The TTX, which starts at $734,000, is the newest iteration of the Corvallis TT. The new plane boasts an all-composite fuselage, a 265 mph top cruise speed, and a range beyond 1,400 miles. It will fly faster and farther than the SR22T and will offer pilots a clutter-free cockpit powered by the touchscreen Garmin G2000.
Cirrus’s personal jet, the Vision SF50 (www.cirrusaircraft.com), seemed to have fallen victim to the recession. It was announced in 2006 and first flew in 2008, and then it fell off the radar. But China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Company, which bought Cirrus early last year for a reported $210 million, is now financing production of the nearly $2 million jet, which will be built in the United States. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2015. It seats as many as seven passengers in a cabin that is just over 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. The cockpit is equipped with the Cirrus Perspective avionics package, which Garmin created specially for this aircraft. With a composite fuselage, an aerodynamic V tail, and a lone turbine engine generating 1,800 pounds of thrust, the jet will cruise at 345 mph, reach a ceiling of 28,000 feet, and fly as far as 1,265 miles without refueling. It is also equipped with Cirrus’s trademark Airframe Parachute System.
The Hondajet (hondajet.honda.com) also survived the recession and is moving into production. The Honda Aircraft Company in Greensboro, N.C., now has three Hondajets in the air undergoing FAA certification, with deliveries expected to begin next fall. The jet accommodates as many as five passengers in leather seats that slide, shift, and lock in place. The cockpit seats two pilots, but Garmin’s G3000 touchscreen avionics suite enables single-pilot operation. The cabin is 4.8 feet tall, 5 feet wide, and 17.8 feet long, and is equipped with a private lavatory and 66 cubic feet of cargo space. Its two turbofan engines produce 2,050 pounds of thrust each. The $4.5 million Hondajet cruises at about 480 mph and has a ceiling of 43,000 feet, a range of about 1,350 miles with four occupants, and a climb rate of nearly 4,000 feet per minute.
The debut model from Los Angeles–based Icon Aircraft, the Icon A5 (www.iconaircraft.com), is designed for recreation rather than transportation. The company plans to begin delivering the aircraft next summer for prices starting at $139,000. Like other recreation vehicles, the 1,000-pound A5 can be towed behind a car (on a specially designed towing trailer); its wings fold back, reducing its width from 34 feet to 8.5 feet. The unpressurized cockpit of the two-seat aircraft features a digital GPS map display, an auxiliary audio port, and removable side windows; the plane has an FAA-limited ceiling of 10,000 feet (or 2,000 feet above ground level, whichever is higher). The 100 hp engine faces backward from where it is affixed to the back of the carbon-fiber airframe and burns either automotive or aviation fuel. It powers the A5 to a top speed of 120 mph and a range of 345 miles. The plane has a takeoff and landing distance of just 750 feet on land or water and can be equipped with retractable landing gear. —B.S.B.