Buoyed by the recent 50-aircraft order to remanufacture the Hawker 400XP fleet of Travel Management Company and fresh from the launch of a new aircraft remanufacturing program, Nextant Aerospace (Chalet B17) has brought its 400XTi light business jet to Dubai to make its airshow debut in the Middle East.
The 400XTi is based on the Hawker 400A/XP, but is remanufactured to create an as-new aircraft with greatly improved features. The latter include Williams International FJ44-3AP engines, Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics and a new cabin that offers more space, greater comfort and very low noise levels. Life-limited items are replaced so that the aircraft is zero-lifed when it leaves the Nextant facility, and the company provides the same kind of warranty and after-sales service as an OEM would provide for new machines.
Nextant’s 400XTi provides equipment, comfort, operating costs and performance that match or better those of comparable new-build aircraft, but at a much-reduced acquisition price. The company has received significant interest in the aircraft from the Middle East and traveled to Dubai to engage with potential customers. The aircraft’s 2,000-nm range covers many of the popular city-pairs flown from Gulf locations.
While buyers in the region have favored large-cabin business aircraft, Nextant president Sean McGeough suggests that the situation may be shifting. “It is a light jet,” he told AIN, “but I believe the marketplace is changing. Operators are looking to be more competitive.”
King Airs Revived
Nextant Aerospace unveiled its next remanufacturing project at last month’s NBAA show in Las Vegas in the form of the G90XT. Taking Beechcraft’s King Air 90, Nextant has engineered a complete upgrade of the aircraft, applying the same principles that created the 400XTi. Key elements of the G90XT program are the installation of new engines, a Garmin G1000 glass cockpit, cleaner aerodynamics including winglets and a bespoke interior.
Replacing the King Air 90’s Pratt & Whitney PT6As are General Electric H80 turboprop engines. The H80 is a major redesign of the proven Walter M601, with advanced 3-D aerodynamics and state-of-the-art materials. Made in GE’s Prague facility, the engines offer increased time between overhauls and no requirement for hot-section inspections thanks to a simple but highly effective slinger-type combustor. Delivering more power than the original engine gives the G90XT improved hot-and-high performance, yet operating costs are lower. A model of the H80 is on display at Nextant’s chalet (V17) next to the 400XTi. To reduce pilot workload the engines are controlled by a jet-like single-lever control, negating the need for propeller pitch controls. This system has been developed in conjunction with Unison Industries.
The choice of the King Air 90 for remanufacture is a logical one, with more than 1,500 in service and airframes available at reasonable prices. Nextant is selling the G90XT for $2.2 million and is taking deposits for the initial deliveries in late 2014. Nextant is comfortable with the short timescale of the G90XT certification process, particularly as GE already has a King Air 90 supplemental type certificate in place for the H80 engine. The first G90XT is about to enter the remanufacturing process, and flight testing is due to begin in the first quarter of 2014, with certification due in the third quarter and first deliveries scheduled for later in the year.
Both the 400XTi and G90XT are applicable for various special missions, including air-ambulance/medevac duties, and these are of significant interest in the Middle East. On display here is the Spectrum Aeromed equipment that can be turn the 400XTi from a business aircraft with a typical club-four layout into a fast, long-legged and reliable air-ambulance. In addition to medical transport, the G90XT offers numerous special-mission options, including rapid freight carriage, high-density passenger transport, training, surveillance and cloud-seeding.