Nextant Aerospace founder and CEO Kenn Ricci said today at NBAA 2012 that his company will announce its next business jet remanufacturing program–dubbed “Project XXT”–in early January. It will be a midsize jet that includes a fuselage modification, he told AIN, with service entry scheduled for 2015. Ricci expects a mockup of the aircraft to be at the NBAA show next year, with first flight expected about 15 to 18 months from now.
“We’ve already done the preliminary engineering and wind-tunnel work, as well as supplier selection for avionics, engines and other systems,” he noted. While Nextant is technically ready to reveal the program today, Ricci said, “The avionics manufacturer has asked us to wait until January because of contractual obligations with another manufacturer, so we can’t make the announcement until then.”
Though he wouldn’t reveal the aircraft type for Project XXT, Ricci said candidate aircraft must meet three basic criteria: it has to have a big enough market; the aircraft needs to be improved and there has to be an engineering fix available to enable these improvements; and the end product has to be cost competitive. “In the end, we came up with four prime candidates and 15 marginal candidates.” Using these criteria, AIN believes that both the Learjet 60 and Hawker 800 are among the top midsize candidates.