NBAA Convention News

Nextant moving quickly on Beechjet upgrade program

 - October 20, 2009, 3:25 PM

Announcement of certification of the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 flight deck in the Beechjet 400A/XP led the news at Nextant Aerospace’s NBAA press conference yesterday.

The Pro Line 21 retrofit, part of Nextant’s upgrade and planned remanufacture of the popular light jet, consists of two large LCD primary flight displays and one large LCD multifunction display and is priced at $390,000. An additional second MFD can be installed for about $50,000, and any orders placed at the convention for the fourth screen will receive a 50-percent discount. According to Nextant CEO Kenneth Ricci, the company has received orders for installation of the Pro Line 21 upgrade in five aircraft. Installation is expected to take three to four weeks and customer deliveries will begin next month, he said.

Nextant (Booth No. 948), based in Richmond Heights, Ohio, is currently working on certification to install Williams FJ44-3AP engines in the 400 to replace the original Pratt & Whitney Canada JT5D engines. According to the company, the engine retrofit will increase range by more than 50 percent, to more than 2,000 nm, reduce operating cost per mile by 30 percent and provide a 35-percent improvement in fuel efficiency.

Rather than offering a traditional conversion program, Nextant’s ultimate goal is to acquire and completely remanufacture the Beechjets on its own.  The renewed model, dubbed Beechjet 400Next, will include the Pro Line 21 flight deck, the new engines, aerodynamic improvements and completely refurbished interior with LED lighting, air-conditioning and broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity.

“We’re taking the OEM model,” Ricci said. “We will offer a warranty, pilot training and factory support, and will accept conversions, but only when they fit in with the production process.”

The company plans to remanufacture a minimum of 48 of the 400 series Beechjets. Two have been acquired thus far and the company is in negotiations on an additional five. The remanufactured aircraft will be priced at $3.9 million, Nextant said, and 15 orders have been received thus far. “It will outperform a 400XP at half the price,” Ricci claimed. Deliveries of the 400Next are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2011.