Sierra Industries and Clifford Development have formed a joint venture called NewJETz to develop a Williams International FJ44-4 engine (3,600 lbs. of thrust) retrofit program. The retrofit will power legacy Cessna Citation 550 and 560 series jets, including the Citation V, Bravo, Ultra and Encore. The new modification is called eVolution, and NewJETz will also offer owners of these aircraft avionics and other upgrades.
Sierra Industries brought the Hawker Beechcraft Hawker 400XPR development aircraft to NBAA’2012, and it’s is parked in the Hawker Beechcraft static display area. Sierra CEO Mark Huffstutler flew the modified jet from Uvalde to Orlando.
First flight of the aircraft, powered by Williams FJ44-4A-32 turbofans, took place on May 3 and “demonstrated some amazing performance,” according to Sierra’s Jim Gerrish. “They pegged 6,000 fpm climb rate at one point,” he said. After takeoff, the 400XPR climbed to 5,000 feet in one minute and eventually reached 14,000 feet and 320 knots during the maiden flight. “This thing just performed flawlessly,” Huffstutler said after the flight.
At its NBAA booth, Sierra is showing a fully functional demonstrator of its Sierra/Garmin G501SP glass panel. This is a G1000-based STC for the Cessna Citation 501, Gerrish said, adding that Sierra recently completed its fifth G501SP installation. Sierra also uses the demonstrator for training.
Sierra’s $284,000 G1000 package features two 10.4-inch PFDs and a centrally-located MFD. Optional upgrades include a 12-inch MFD, dual LCD engine instrument displays, Jeppesen charts, XM WX, RVSM, Taws-B, pedestal-mounted alphanumeric keypad, L-3 Avionics back-up digital standby instrument and synthetic vision.
Sierra Industries is perhaps best known for its FJ44 re-engining programs for Citations. Gerrish said that, to date, the company has completed 49 FJ44-2A mods (Citation 500 and 501SP models) and 13 mods with the FJ44-3A (Citation 550 and S550 models). “We expect to begin our 50th FJ44-2A re-engining modification before the end of the year,” he said. Williams recently appointed Sierra as an authorized service center for the FJ44.
In spite of the challenging economy, Sierra continues to grow. “We presently employ a little over 100 people in our Uvalde location, plus another 40 to 50 in San Antonio and Austin,” Gerrish told AIN. “We have an aircraft management/charter operation in each city, and San Antonio also hosts our technology development group, Skyway Aerospace Technology. We are also planning to open an MRO facility in San Antonio before the end of the year.”
Skyway Aerospace Technology designed and engineered the retrofit of the Hawker 400XPR, while the modification work was done by Sierra Industries.