Hawker Beechcraft brings 10 aircraft for 10th EBACE

 - May 3, 2010, 9:02 AM

Hawker Beechcraft has brought examples of its entire commercial product range to EBACE for the first time, 10 aircraft forming its “global demonstrator fleet.” Its static park display includes a recently certified King Air 350i and C90GTx; a Hawker 4000, 900XP, 750 and 400XP; a Premier IA twinjet; a Baron G58 piston twin; and a Bonanza piston single.

The U.S. manufacturer’s flagship aircraft, the Hawker 4000, has continued to break records in the super-midsize business jet category, establishing five world records since it recorded its first en route to last year’s EBACE show. The latest took place on January 17 between London and Dubai. The 4000’s first record was set last year on October 8, when a Hawker 4000 traveled from Lisbon, Portugal, to Berlin, Germany, a distance of 1,253 nm, in exactly three hours, for an average speed of 482.13 mph. The next day the aircraft completed a second record leg between Berlin and Milan, Italy, with an average of 395.62 mph over the 448-nm distance, in an elapsed time of 1 hour 14 minutes.

Then on October 10, when the Hawker 4000 traveled from Milan to Bahrain in 5:30 hours, it averaged a record 480.14 mph over the 2,282-nm route. Finally, on October 12, the aircraft departed Bahrain and made a 6:57-hour flight over Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Bulgaria, Sofia, Croatia, Austria, Germany and Belgium before landing  at London’s Stansted Airport in the UK. The average speed was 454.42 mph over the 2,729-nm distance.

In January this year, a fifth world speed record was added to the Hawker 4000’s accomplishments, flying from London to Dubai, a distance of 3,056 nm at an average speed of 540.39 mph. Statistical summaries of the flights have been submitted for certification and verification to the National Aeronautic Association and the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

The new 350i turboprop received its European type certificate in December last year with first delivery to a European customer, Belgian charter operator Philippe Bodson, taking place recently. Bodson’s company, ASL, operates out of Antwerp. He said that the 350i “accommodates up to nine passengers and is particularly good on special missions, like those to small airfields.”

The 350i is the first business aircraft on the market to be equipped with Rockwell Collins’ Venue cabin management system, supporting various devices including CD, DVD, Blu-ray disc, MP3 players, Apple iPods, Sony Playstations and Microsoft Xbox 360s, as well as laptops and USB data-storage sticks.

“This is a great corporate aircraft, with the best payload per seat mile in its category,” said Sean McGeough, Hawker Beechcraft’s president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “It can compete against jets such as the [Cessna Citation] Bravo and the [Bombardier] Learjet 40 and 45, especially flying ranges of 600 to 1,000 nautical miles,” he claimed Rockwell Collins is also supplying the Pro Line 21 integrated display system upgrade for the Beechcraft 1900D. Engineering work is complete and the company’s first article installation is well under way at its Wichita service center. A second installation is scheduled to begin in July for the 19-seat twin turboprop-powered aircraft.

According to Hawker Beechcraft, operating costs are significantly reduced by coupling the system’s Pro Line 21 new equipment warranty with a two-year Rockwell Collins Corporate Aircraft Service Program warranty, which also covers previously installed Rockwell Collins avionics.

The Hawker Beechcraft exhibit here at EBACE (Booth No. 7080) has been enhanced with an expanded customer support area, and interior selection center and aircraft models of the entire aircraft range. Separately, each aircraft in the Hawker Beechcraft demonstrator fleet is displaying the logo for the Corporate Angel Network–the U.S. organization that arranges ride frees in private aircraft for patients needing transportation to and from medical treatments.

Meanwhile, Hawker Beechcraft’s own flight department has been developing a standardized safety management system that adheres to the International Standards for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). “It is a measurable program that prescribes an audit every two years and stimulates ongoing self-audits to ensure currency, relevance and continuous improvement,” said Bob Blouin, Hawker Beechcraft’s vice president for flight operations.

Europe Still Land of Opportunity

While acknowledging the volatile economic times endured by Europe over the past year or so, the continent is still a land of opportunity for business aircraft makers, according to Sean McGeough, Hawker Beechcraft’s president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “We are fortunate to have such a broad product line that delivers value and efficiency,” he told AIN.

McGeough said that the Hawker 750 and 900 have sold well in Europe. “Some customers are right-sizing and they are finding that they can do as much with these aircraft as with larger Gulfstreams, [Dassault] Falcons and Bombardiers,” he stated. “The cabins [of the Hawkers] are popular because they offer more space for the money and the aircraft can fly farther and carry more.”

The Hawker 4000 has sold well in McGeough’s territory with buyers spread through the UK, Spain, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Nigeria and the Middle East. So far, 27 of the new super-midsized model have sold outside the U.S., logging more than 8,000 hours collectively. The fleet leader has flown more than 900 hours with a 99-percent dispatch reliability.

According to McGeough, there are at last signs that the congested pre-owned aircraft market is beginning to move with available inventory down to about 17 percent of the total fleet, compared to the 20 percent just a few months ago. “We still need some more credit in the marketplace and we want to see some sort of growth in 2011, but we are starting to come out the other side,” he concluded.