““[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.’” ”
The New Jet Aircraft Pipeline: Bigger, Faster and More Efficient
Nearly two-dozen jet aircraft for business and personal use are in various stages of development or have just entered service. All are bigger, faster and more efficient than anything that has gone before in their class. Here is a look at some of the more prominent projects.
If you’re looking for really big, look no further than Airbus and Boeing, manufacturers of the largest business jets.
The ACJ350-900 from Airbus is well along in development as an airliner (under the name A350 XWB), with a listed price of $268 million. A “green” airplane with no interior should cost somewhat less, with the final tab depending on what modifications the buyer requires to convert the cabin for business or private use. The owner would need to have the aircraft sent to an Airbus-approved completion center for interior design, engineering and cabin outfitting.
Airbus expects the ACJ350-900 to have a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.89 (1,063 km/h) and a range of approximately 18,600 km, although these figures may vary depending on the weight on the interior completion. Airbus claims “several” orders for the ACJ350-900 for business use but remains silent on details and a date for the first delivery.
If the ACJ350 isn’t big enough for you, consider the ACJ380, an executive version of the giant, two-deck Airbus A380 airliner, with 551 square meters of floor space–approximately 102 square meters more than you’ll find in Boeing’s new 747-8. The A380 has already been certified as an airliner. It has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.89 (1,063 km/h), a range of 17,582 kilometers and costs $375 million in its airliner configuration. At last report, one ACJ380 has been sold.
Boeing has just certified its 787 in Dreamliner airline configuration. It expects to deliver the first business or private variant, priced at $178.138 million, to a completion center in early 2012. The 787-8, which contains 224 square meters of cabin floor space, boasts a cruise speed of Mach 0.85 (1,015 km/h) and a range of 17,748 kilometers, “connecting virtually any two points on the globe.” Boeing claims orders for 12 aircraft to be finished as business or private jets.
Boeing’s other big-body entrant in the business jet sweepstakes is the 747-8i, the latest follow-on in the 747 family. The company expects to begin deliveries of the $206.81 million aircraft later this year, depending on the results of the flight test program. Boeing, which claims orders for nine 747-8i four-engine jets, reports that they will have a cruise speed of Mach 0.855 (1,021 km/h) and a range of 17,508 kilometers.
Bombardier is one of the world’s largest providers of business aircraft and is perhaps best known for its line of large-cabin aircraft, starting with the Challenger. The Canadian manufacturer recently announced its biggest business jets to date, the Global 7000 and Global 8000.
The 7000, with a four-zone, flat-floor, standup cabin, will have the largest interior in its class at 75 cubic meters, and can carry 19 passengers. It will have high-speed cruise of Mach 0.90 (1,075 km/h) and at its most efficient cruise of Mach 0.85 (1,015 km/h) will travel nonstop 13,510 kilometers–roughly 14 hours in the air. It will be able to fly nonstop between Beijing and Washington, D.C.
The Global 8000 will have the same high-speed capability and will fly even farther–14,620 kilometers at Mach 0.85 (1,015 km/h), taking passengers nonstop from Hong Kong to New York City.
The 7000 is priced at $67.5 million and the 8000 at $65 million. Both will have 80 percent larger windows than earlier Global business jets, a crew-rest area and a large baggage compartment that is accessible in flight. Bombardier expects the Global 7000 and 8000 to enter service in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
The in-production Global Express XRS will be equipped with the new Global Vision cockpit upgrade and rebranded the Global 6000. The 6000 has already been certified by Transport Canada and is expected to enter service in 2012, following U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification.
The Learjet 85, the line’s first super-midsize business jet, is an all-composite twinjet with a cabin one-third larger than that of the Learjet 60XR. Bombardier says it can bring it to market by 2012 with a $17.2 million price tag. The company expects the 10-passenger airplane to have a high-speed cruise of Mach 0.82 (979 km/h) and a maximum range of approximately 5,552 kilometers.
Cessna Aircraft has three airplanes scheduled to begin service between 2013 and 2015. The Citation Ten is the follow-on to the iconic Citation X and at a maximum cruise speech of Mach 0.925 (1,104 km/h) will be even faster than its predecessor, which is the world’s fastest business jet until the G650 enters service later this year. It costs $21.495 million, will have a maximum range of 6,006 kilometers and is expected to be delivered starting in 2013.
More recently, Cessna unveiled the Citation M2, an upgrade of the Citation CJ1+. The M2’s maximum cruise speed will be 740 km/h and it will have a range of 2,406 kilometers. Priced at $4.195 million, the M2 will carry up to six passengers in a cabin larger than that in the CJ1+. Projected entry into service is late 2013.
The newest Citation is the Latitude, which Cessna announced last fall and expects will enter into service in the second half of 2015. The cabin will feature windows that are larger than in previous Citations, and better placed for viewing. The flat-floor, standup cabin will accommodate nine passengers. The jet is priced at $14.995 million and the company was initially offering a $1 million discount. The Latitude will have a maximum speed of 508 km/h and a range of 3,701 kilometers.
At Dassault Falcon, the latest offering is the Falcon 2000S, a $25 million variant of the 2000 series that is more favorably priced. The 6,200-kilometer range is less than the 7,403 kilometers offered by the 2000, but performance in terms of landing speeds and time-to-climb are much enhanced. With upgraded Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308C turbofan engines, emissions will be cut 40 percent and thanks to those engines plus winglets, the Falcon 2000S will burn 10 percent less fuel than aircraft that are 20 percent smaller, the company claims.
Dassault continues to develop a new twinjet, and while most of the details remain tightly wrapped, a company spokesman said it will be in the super-midsize (SMS) category, will have fly-by-wire controls and incorporate the latest version of the EASy flight deck. The detail design phase for the SMS has begun and some 1,500 engineers are at work on the aircraft, which Dassault expects will enter into service in 2016.
Brazilian manufacturer Embraer continues on schedule in development of its fly-by-wire Legacy 500 and Legacy 450. The 500 will have a cabin that is 1.8 meters longer than that of the 450, but both will have 1.83-meter standup headroom, a fully equipped galley and aft private lavatory. The 500 can be configured for up to 12 passengers and the 450 for 10.
The $18.4 million Legacy 500 will have a 5,182-kilometer range and a cruise speed of Mach 0.80 (955 km/h). The aircraft is scheduled to enter service in 2014. The $15.25-million Legacy 450 will have a range of 4,072 kilometers and similar cruise speed. Embraer expects the 500 to enter service in late 2013 or early 2014 and the 450 to enter service in 2014.
Gulfstream has two impressive new airplanes, the G650 and the G280. The G650 is the company’s new star. It is the largest business jet ever built by the manufacturer and will be the world’s fastest, with a maximum speed of Mach 0.925 (1,104 km/h). Range at Mach 0.90 (1,075 km/h) is 9,253 kilometers, and at its most efficient cruise speed of Mach 0.85 (1,015 km/h), the $65.5 million airplane will travel 12,955 kilometers nonstop.
The jet’s new Rolls-Royce engines are 33 percent quieter than those on the earlier G550 and have lower exhaust emissions. The lavatory has an independent venting system; the windows are 16 percent larger than those in the G550; and thanks to a new software application, passengers can control all cabin functions, from window shades to entertainment, with their iPods or iPads.
Though much smaller, the G280 boasts many of the same cabin amenities. The $24 million super-midsize jet, a derivative of the G200, has a maximum speed of Mach 0.85 (1,015 km/h), but at an efficient Mach 0.80 (955 km/h) it will fly nonstop 6,292 kilometers. Certification by the FAA is imminent.
Hawker Beechcraft recently received U.S. certification of the three-display-panel Pro Line 21 cockpit avionics upgrade for its Hawker 400XPR light twinjet. The 400XPR represents a major improvement for the Hawker 400A line; other enhancements include replacing the Pratt & Whitney Canada engines with new Williams International FJ44-4A-32 turbofans and the addition of winglets. Customers are required to bring their 400A into a Hawker Beechcraft service center for the upgrade. The airplane costs $2.67 million with all the enhancements.)
The Hawker 200 is the former Premier II. The $7.55 million light twinjet features a redesigned ventral fin, more powerful Williams International FJ33-3P engines, winglets and Rockwell Collins Pro Line 4 avionics. The cruise speed is expected to jump 23 percent to 875 km/h and range will increase 20 percent to 2,776 kilometers. The cabin can accommodate seven passengers. The manufacturer expects entry into service in late 2012 or early 2013.
Viewing this report requires Adobe Reader be installed on your device. If it's not currently installed, click here to download.