East Alton, Ill.-based Premier Aircraft, a joint venture between Premier Air Center and Yankee Pacific Aerospace, has a launch customer for its Falcon 50-4 performance upgrade program. The program is aiming for December STC certification (about a year later than originally planned, waiting for a launch customer) and with support from Honeywell will reconfigure the original TFE731-3/3D engines to the new TFE731-4-1C specification, apply minor nacelle modifications and re-mark the cockpit engine gauges.
The unidentified launch customer will place its aircraft with Premier for the first customer engine upgrade while S/N 094, owned by Premier Aircraft, will act as the testbed for certification. The total upgrade takes seven weeks, and customers can rent engines from Honeywell’s Dash 3 loaner pool until the original engines are upgraded to Dash 4 configuration. By using loaner engines the aircraft downtime can be reduced to approximately 10 days.
Flight Test Associates in Mojave, Calif., will undertake the airborne certification requirements for presentation to the FAA. These tests include establishment of the baseline performance characteristic of the unmodified aircraft with the TFE731-3 engines followed by flight tests with the TFE731-4 engines.
According to Jim Swehla, president of Premier Aircraft, major benefits include higher climb and cruise thrust, lower specific fuel consumption, up to 26 percent greater range due to enhanced hot-and-high performance, reduced time to climb and higher initial cruise altitude. The Falcon 50 Dash 4 conversion also increases durability, provides extended 2,500/5,000-hour MPI/CZI intervals and comes with a three-year/1,800-hour engine warranty and reduced MSP rates, according to Premier.
As an incentive to spur additional orders, Premier is offering the first 10 customers $50,000 off the cost of the upgrade. The price is $2.3 million for non-MSP aircraft. For an operator whose aircraft is on MSP (which is the majority of the fleet), pricing is about $1.6 to $1.7 million. The total upgrade takes seven weeks, but loaner engines will be available to reduce downtime to about 10 days.