Hawker 4000 Certification ‘Just About There’

 - September 19, 2006, 1:19 PM

Raytheon Aircraft last expected to receive full FAA certification of the super-midsize Hawker 4000 Horizon in February, nearly five years later than the originally estimated date of spring 2001. The FAA granted the aircraft provisional certification on Dec. 23, 2004. But February came and went without full, final certification. Raytheon Aircraft chairman and CEO James Schuster gave the latest update on the certification progress when the company released its first-quarter results in late April.

“We encountered a few bumps in the road over the last 60 days, but I’m happy to report that we are about done.” He said that the aircraft had completed 135 hours of the 150-hour required function and reliability (F&R) testing. “The final 15 hours should be completed and all the paperwork into the hands of the FAA” in the first week of May, said Schuster, predicting that Raytheon should have “certification in hand as soon as the FAA completes its review. It’s been a long haul, but we are just about there.”

Schuster described the Horizon 4000 as a “real breakthrough airplane.” It’s only the second all-composite fuselage to come into the marketplace and only the second jet Raytheon Aircraft has designed,” he said. “We are plowing new ground with this airplane in many respects. The F&R testing is a rigorous shakeout. We’ve run into minor technical issues that take a few days or in some cases a couple of weeks to get resolved.” There’s been nothing significant, Schuster claimed.

“It would take an hour to go through all of the changes that we have made in this company relative to staffing, organization and processes to make certain we don’t have these problems in the future,” Schuster explained. “The Horizon went into development long before these changes were in place.”

Schuster maintains the aircraft’s performance is meeting or exceeding expectations. He did not refer to the previously disclosed unexpected 600-pound increase in basic operating weight that has reduced the originally targeted range by about 100 nm. Raytheon Aircraft told AIN late last year it is working to find ways to restore that loss.

To date, Raytheon Aircraft has received orders for 74 Hawker 4000s (including 50 from NetJets). Before the latest delay in certification, the company said it planned to deliver 11 Hawker 4000s this year, 16 next year, 24 in 2008 and 30 per year thereafter.