““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
Hawker 450XP and Super King Air 350i unveiled
The wraps are off on Hawker Beechcraft's Hawker 450XP and Super King Air 350i, revealing extensive cabin makeovers. Cabin "infotainment" systems for both aircraft are based on Rockwell Collins' Venue and will handle the latest information and entertainment sources-iPods, XM satellite radio, CDs and Blu-ray DVDs, X-Boxes and PlayStations-and feature multiple high-definition screens with home-theater-quality sound.
According to the Wichita, Kan.-based company, the 350i cabin also incorporates extensive soundproofing that will reduce average noise from the 82dBA typical of most light jets and turboprops to 78 dBA. LED lighting and electrochromic window darkening will add to the ambiance.
The back of the 450XP holds a midsize-jet-type lavatory. The double club-four cabin layout can be reconfigured for more spacious comfort by removing one seat and replacing it with an ottoman. The Super King Air 350i costs $6.526 million and is scheduled for certification in the third quarter of 2009. The "very well equipped" 450XP carries a $7.695 million price tag. Certification is expected in the second quarter of 2009.