EBACE Convention News

EBACE 2011: Nextant 400XT Makes EBACE Debut, Nears FAA Certification

 - May 16, 2011, 9:10 AM

The first production-conforming Nextant Aerospace 400XT is making its public debut on the EBACE static display, just days after the type’s Williams FJ44-3AP engines received U.S. FAA technical standard order (TSO) approval.

With this approval out of the way, supplemental type certification (STC) for the 400XT is expected next month, Nextant president James Miller said yesterday at an EBACE press conference. FAA officials are expected to wrap up their flight tests by early next week, and function and reliability testing is planned to be completed by June 15, paving the way for STC approval by June 30.

The 400XT is a remanufactured Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP with the FJ44-3AP engines, Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics and a zero-timed airframe complete with new paint and interior. During the remanufacturing process, the aircraft undergoes A through D checks and is brought up to compliance with the latest service bulletins and airworthiness directives. In addition, all primary wiring harnesses are replaced and life-limited parts are swapped out with new or zero-timed components.

Aerodynamics refinements are also included in the upgrades. This includes a redesigned pylon, streamlined engine cowling and a one-piece milled engine mount/beam, the latter of which reduces parts count by 100. The horizontal stabilizer has also been tweaked on the 400XT. After the conversion, the aircraft is 88 percent new, Miller said. Because of this, almost 90 percent of the aircraft’s $3.795 million cost is eligible for 100-percent bonus depreciation this year in the U.S.

According to Nextant, the aerodynamic improvements greatly reduce drag and the Williams engines increases fuel specifics by 32 percent, allowing for a 2,005-nm range–about 700 nm more than a base airplane. Winglets, which could be offered as an option in the near future, would increase range by a further 2 to 8 percent.

Besides the winglets, further improvements could include replacing the air-cycle machine and Freon air conditioner with a more efficient unit, which would enhance ground cooling and expand the available baggage space. Also, Miller said a three-place divan is in the works.

Dubbed by Nextant as 400XT production number one, the twinjet displayed here at EBACE sports a newly designed paint scheme intended for retail customers. This aircraft is also outfitted with the 400XT’s standard Collins Venue in-flight entertainment system and the optional Aircell Axxess Iridium satcom system. It flew from Nextant’s base at Cleveland Cuyahoga Airport to Geneva with just two fuel stops along the way–Goose Bay, Canada, and Keflavik, Iceland.

Nextant vice president of sales and marketing Jay Heublein told AIN that this particular 400XT is for sale, making it one of the three remaining slots for 2011 delivery. After the show, it will be used for several demonstration flights in Europe before it heads back home to the U.S., where it will also be used for demo flights.

The Cleveland-based company currently has four other aircraft undergoing remanufacturing and expects to deliver eleven 400XTs in total this year. First delivery is slated to occur in July. Within three years, the delivery rate is expected to rise to 48 annually.

Last month, Nextant announced that CAE will be the exclusive training provider for the 400XT. CAE is currently building a dedicated Nextant 400XT level-D simulator.

Meanwhile, Nextant is eyeing about a half-dozen aircraft types that would make good candidates for remanufacturing. According to Miller, the qualifications for remanufacturing include aircraft with a large production run, reliable structure that requires few modifications, outdated systems and powerplants and available undervalued pre-owned units. However, he wouldn’t identify the specific types that Nextant is considering.