OEMs have a variety of new business aircraft models—from helicopters to long-range jets—under development and coming to market soon. They are bringing to market a range of technological advancements that hold the promise of greater range, efficiency, safety, and passenger comfort.
Announced in 2012 and currently nearing certification, the 525 is the most ambitious project to emerge from Bell since it started making V-22 “Osprey” tilt rotors with Boeing for the U.S. military. With the 525, Bell wasn’t just going after medium twin helicopters like the wildly popular AgustaWestland AW139 or the large Sikorsky S-92 favored by heads of state for VVIP conveyance; it created a new category between the two and is going after both markets. Bell designed the 525 to be cost-competitive for any mission between 50 and 500 nm that either of these other helicopters currently performs. This is the largest civil helicopter that Bell has ever built. It has an all-composite, five-blade main rotor system with a diameter of 54.5 feet.
The 525 is comparatively fast with a top speed of 155 knots. It’s aerodynamically slick and features computerized fly-by-wire controls and touchscreen Garmin G5000H avionics. Gone are the traditional cyclic sticks between the pilots’ legs. The cockpit has sidestick controls and a decidedly futuristic feel. The pilots’ seats swivel into position for ease of egress. Ahead of them is a low-slung digital instrument panel and an enormous field of Plexiglas that affords superb visibility over the nose and down to the ground.
Entry to the 525’s 4.5-foot-tall cabin is through a pair of hinged doors located between the cockpit and the first of four seating areas or through two large aft sliding doors. Passengers enjoy 88 sq ft of floor space and a 128-cubic-foot baggage hold—bigger than what you’ll find on most corporate jets. VIP cabin layouts are expected to seat eight to 12 passengers and to
Hill unveiled the five-seat HX50 turbine-single helicopter in August 2020. It plans to initially offer it as an amateur-built aircraft in 2023, with a certified Part 27 version—the HC50—following in 2026. List price for the kit aircraft is $662,000. The design features an all-composite, three-blade main rotor, retractable landing gear, and ducted tail rotor. Performance targets include a 140-knot cruise speed and a maximum range of 700 nm.
Available interior features include in-seat electric heaters and air-conditioned seat ventilation, a refrigerated center console compartment beneath the armrest cushion to chill drinks and snacks, and a power supply for each passenger's tablet computer with audio streamed directly to passenger headsets. The audio is fully integrated with the digital cockpit and onboard audio system. Each passenger seat can be equipped to support rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seats for children.
In the flight deck, the avionics system can include synthetic vision, a traffic awareness system, weather data integration, an additional radio, a navigation radio and HSI, a radar altimeter, and ATC record and replay. All HX50 aircraft will be fitted with a standard two-axis attitude-based stability augmentation system and autopilot and can be upgraded to a four-axis autopilot. The HX50 can also be equipped with a pilot-operable folding blade system that replaces standard lag damper pins with interlocked quick-release pins, allowing the blades to pivot around the blade roots and orient over the tail boom. Safety interlocks prevent the aircraft from being operated with the blades unlocked.
A Helimove smart ground handling system uses electric drive units in the aircraft wheels to maneuver the aircraft on the ground after engine shutdown, from either within the helicopter or via a smartphone/tablet app. Similarly, a Home Base secure wireless link enables powered hangar doors to be opened or closed from within the aircraft. The aircraft can be ordered with landing skids as opposed to wheels and an emergency float system is fully integrated into flush-fitting pockets along the fuselage and inflate within 3 seconds of activation.
incorporate all the entertainment, information, and high-speed-connectivity equipment that you can find on the latest private jets.
Leonardo's first production AW609 civil tiltrotor made its initial flight on October 13 at the company’s Philadelphia facility. Designated AC5, the aircraft was one of three customer aircraft on the production line and will join the other three prototype AW609s currently in the “last stages” of flight test. Leonardo Philadelphia has been gearing up for the AW609’s entry into service, building a new training academy that includes an AW609 full-flight simulator and pilot and maintenance training coursework.
The AW609 takes off and lands like a helicopter yet can achieve forward speeds of around 270 knots, on par with a fast turboprop airplane. It will likely transform personal and business travel between cities that are 700 to 1,100 nm apart. In many cases, it will be faster to make these trips with the AW609 than with a helicopter or private jet. The aircraft will be powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6C-67A turboshafts and include Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics.
Cabin size is on par with light jets and turboprops—height is 60 inches, width is 58 inches, and length is 13 feet, 5 inches. Finmeccanica gave the main cabin door a clamshell design and widened it to 35 inches, making the 609 more suitable for a medevac role. The VIP cabin features a small refreshment center followed by a club-four grouping and an aft belted lavatory while a less-plush corporate configuration incorporates six to seven seats. Customers will be able to select fabrics and colors, much as they would for a corporate jet.
Textron Aviation announced this new single-engine turboprop program in 2016 and the aircraft made its first flight in November 2021. The model is aimed squarely at the market for the Pilatus PC-12, which, until now, has not faced a viable competitor and Textron’s goal is for the Denali to offer comparable performance with lower operating and maintenance costs.
The Denali’s flat-floor, pressurized cabin is 16 feet, 9 inches long—the same as the cabin in Cessna’s durably selling but unpressurized and slower Grand Caravan EX turboprop utility single; the other cabin dimensions are nearly identical, too: 58 inches high and 63 inches wide for the Denali and 54 inches high and 64 inches wide for the Grand Caravan. The Denali’s cabin is an inch taller, nine inches wider, and an inch longer than that of the King Air 250 twin, which sells for $1.3 million more. It is the same height as the PC-12’s cabin but three inches wider and two inches shorter.
Textron expects the Denali to have a range of 1,600 nm with four passengers, a maximum cruise speed of 285 knots, and a full-fuel payload of 1,100 pounds. The aircraft features a 53-by-59-inch rear cargo door (slightly larger than the one on the PC-12) and a digital pressurization system that maintains a 6,130-foot cabin to 31,000 feet. Options include an externally serviceable belted lavatory with a pocket door enclosure in the aft of the cabin. The stylish cockpit will be equipped with the Garmin G3000 touchscreen avionics suite and will offer high-resolution multifunction displays and split-screen capability. The G3000 flight deck will include synthetic vision, weather radar, advanced terrain awareness warning system (TAWS), and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) capabilities.
The Denali is powered by a 1,240-shp advanced turboprop GE Catalyst engine that features full authority digital engine controls (fadec) and single-lever power and propeller control.GE estimates that the engine could be 15 to 20 percent more efficient than comparable models. And its manufacture employs 3D printing, which not only cuts its weight and improves reliability, it also substantially reduces production costs. The initial time-between-overhaul interval will be 4,000 hours.
Daher Kodiak 900
Daher plans to deliver its first $3.5 million Kodiak 900 single-engine turboprop in January. Compared to the in-production Kodiak 100 Series III, the unpressurized 900 features a 3.9-foot fuselage stretch, wheel pants, a variety of aerodynamic clean-ups, single-point refueling, and a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-140A engine, which delivers 900 shp, 150 more than the Series III. Maximum cruise speed is 210 knots, range is 1,129 nm, and useful load increases by 100 pounds to 3,630.
The stretched cabin increases cabin volume by 20 percent to 309 cubic feet, enough space for an eight-seat, double-club executive configuration. The quick-release single-passenger seats enable multiple combi passenger/cargo cabin configurations. Each seat position has access to cupholders, USB ports, headset jacks, and personal storage.
The 2600 is Honda Aircraft’s next step forward. Announced in 2021 as a “concept,” it promises to bring new economics to transcontinental business travel. Like the in-production HA-420, it will be certified for single-pilot operations and have good short-runway performance: the estimated takeoff distance at maximum weight is just 3,300 feet. Honda claims it will be 20 percent more fuel-efficient than comparable light jets and 40 percent more than midsize ones with similar cabins.
Similar in appearance to the HA-420, the 2600 features Honda’s patented and distinctive over-the-wing-engine-mount design, which delivers midsize cabin comfort for seating up to 11 and light jet operating economics with a twist: transcontinental range. The aircraft will have a maximum cruise speed of 450 knots and a maximum altitude of 47,000 feet, where cabin altitude is a comfortable 6,363 feet. The maximum takeoff weight will be nearly 17,500 pounds.
The wider fuselage produces a cabin cross-section that is 62.5 inches tall and 61 inches wide, 4.5 inches higher, and one inch wider than on the HA-420. The modular cabin is 25.4 feet long and features a galley and enclosed aft lavatory with seating layouts of either a double club four, for eight passengers, or a single club four plus a half club and a three-place divan, for nine. Honda also has designed a special mattress that mounts atop two facing single seats. The distance between seatbacks on the facing single executive seats is seven feet. Combined interior and exterior baggage stowage is a generous 120 cubic feet.
While engines for the new aircraft have not formally been discussed, it is widely believed that it would be powered by a larger version of the GE/Honda HF120 on the HA-420. GE Aviation executives said some years ago that this engine was upwardly “scalable.”
Introduced in October 2021, the $34.5 million G400 is a shortened version of the airframer’s new-generation G500, a fly-by-wire symphony of computerized flight controls, modern avionics, and new fuel-efficient engines that Gulfstream first delivered in 2018. The G400 bundles all these G500 attributes into a package with a maximum takeoff weight that is nearly 10,000 pounds less and a cabin that is five feet shorter. (The aircraft overall is about 10 feet shorter at just over 86 feet.) The G400 also accommodates two to four fewer passengers, and its range is 1,100 nm less than that of the G500.
The G400 has the same generous, finished cabin cross-section as the G500: a little over six feet tall, about seven and a half feet wide, and 1,441 cubic feet of volume. The interior is available in three basic layouts with seating for nine to 12 with berthing seating for five. Other features include forward and aft lavs, ample galley space, all the comforts and in-flight entertainment and connectivity features offered by the G500, and the same 175-cubic-foot baggage hold. There are 10 big oval cabin windows—a signature design feature on all Gulfstreams—in a cabin with 100 percent fresh air and a cabin altitude of just 3,255 feet while the airplane cruises at 41,000 feet. (Maximum altitude is 51,000 feet.) The airplane will deliver respectable speed, 22 percent lower emissions, and compliance with Stage 5 noise standards from the pair of Pratt & Whitney PW812GA engines bolted onto the back.
Anticipated to enter service in 2025, the G400 can fly New York to Los Angeles or London to New York nonstop: 4,200 nm at Mach 0.85 or 3,950 nm at Mach 0.88, and its top speed is Mach 0.90 (as opposed to 0.925 Mach for the G500). Fully loaded at 69,580 pounds, it can take off from runways as short as 5,000 feet.
Dassault Falcon 6X
Dassault announced the approximately $47 million 6X in 2018. It made its first flight in 2021 and deliveries are expected in early 2023. The 14- to 16-passenger aircraft has the largest cross-section of any purpose-designed business jet: eight and a half feet wide, six and a half feet high, and just over 40 feet long. capacious, bright, and airy cabin, which provides 1,843 cubic feet of volume. A skylight illuminates the entryway, and 30 windows flood the space with natural light. All that room allows for a good deal of flexibility, including the ability to have conference-table seating for six and a comfortable aft stateroom. The wider cabin also makes it possible for the 6X to offer a bigger galley. The 155-cubic-foot baggage compartment is accessible in flight, plus there are another 76 cubic feet of unpressurized baggage space.
Like most Falcons, this one will blend good short- and long-range capabilities. It will be able to use runways as short as 3,000 feet (partially loaded) while delivering a range of 5,500 nm with a top speed of Mach 0.90. The 6X’s high-efficiency Pratt & Whitney PW812D engines deliver 13,500 pounds of thrust each and 10 percent better fuel economy than legacy engines in their thrust class. The 6X features full fly-by-wire flight controls. Its new wing is designed to mitigate turbulence and is equipped with flaperons, leading-edge slats, and trailing-edge flaps. At maximum takeoff weight, the Falcon needs a balanced field length of as little as 5,840 feet.
The new EASy IV cockpit, based on Honeywell’s Primus Epic avionics, features a simplified, one-button, power-up system, the FalconEye combined vision system head-up display for landing in low-visibility situations and better situational awareness. New and larger crew seats provide more legroom and comfort for pilots and can recline to 130 degrees.
Large Cabin, Long-Range
Gulfstream’s new long-range, 107,600-pound (maximum takeoff weight) flagship builds on the success of the G650 and G650ER, offering its widest, tallest, and longest cabin. The G700’s long legs and increased capabilities and comfort are derived from engines, curved winglets, avionics, flight controls, a flight deck, a cabin, and seating that build on the modern systems and design philosophy employed by its smaller G500 and G600 stablemates. The aircraft was announced in 2019 and is expected to enter into service within the next few months.
Like the cabins in the G650 series, the one in the G700 provides a sanctuary of understated elegance. The new cabin is 10 feet longer, though, for a total length of nearly 57 feet—a mere three feet shorter than a regulation bowling lane—and is carved into up to five distinct living zones that can be configured to seat from 13 to 19. While the G700 offers many cabin layouts and seemingly endless finer details, what makes it a true lux long-hauler is the available “Grand Suite” in the aft fuselage. It’s the closest thing to a five-star hotel room in a production business jet. It can be equipped with a curved-edge, queen-size bed opposite a full-size dresser. The adjacent aft lav features two windows, a stand-up closet, a large vanity, and an optional stand-up shower. The lav also provides in-flight access to the pressurized, 195-cubic-foot baggage hold, which can convey 2,500 pounds.
The G700’s Symmetry digital flight deck was first introduced on the G500 and G600. (The avionics of all three, based on Honeywell’s Primus Epic system, are so similar that pilots can qualify to fly them with a common type rating.) The control yokes of the G650 line are gone, replaced by BAE active control sidesticks linked to a triple-redundant computerized fly-by-wire flight-control system. The avionics feature Gulfstream’s enhanced flight vision system (EFVS) and twin head-up displays—the latter a first for a business jet—along with the new Gulfstream Predictive Landing Performance System (PLPS).
Power comes from a pair of Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines that each deliver 18,250 pounds of thrust. The Pearls are improved derivatives of the BR725 engines on the G650 series and are cleaner and more efficient. They provide 8 percent more thrust while consuming 3.5 percent less fuel and meet or exceed international standards for noise and nitrous-oxide emissions.
The $71.5 million G800 borrows many of the elements designed for the G700 and adds 500 nm of range. Those include the cabin seats, cabinetry, and lighting, the Symmetry flight deck, wing, tail, and Rolls-Royce engines. Wingspan grows to 103 feet. Power comes from a pair of Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines, each rated at 18,250 pounds of thrust, and are 18 percent more fuel-efficient than the BR725 engines on the G650, according to Gulfstream.
Maximum takeoff weight expands to 105,600 pounds while maximum range increases to 8,000 nm at Mach 0.85 (7,000 nm at Mach 0.90). The G800 made its first flight in June and is expected to enter into service late next year.
Bombardier Global 8000
This updated $78 million version of the OEM’s current Global 7500 flagship was announced in May 2022 and features increased speed and range via software updates, modification of the existing GE Passport engines that power the 7500, and optimization of space in existing fuel tanks. First deliveries are expected in 2025 and the aircraft will eventually replace the 7500.
The 8000’s maximum speed increases to Mach 0.94, positioning it to be the fastest certified of the business jets, and maximum range stretches by 300 nm to 8,000 nm. It already has broken the supersonic sound barrier as part of flight test. The aircraft features the same full-length fuselage and four-zone cabin as the 7500 and its maximum 2,900-foot cabin altitude. Existing 7500 customers will be able to upgrade their aircraft to the 8000 via service bulletin.
Dassault Falcon 10X
In May 2021 Dassault launched a potential kill shot at large-cabin, long-haul competitors Gulfstream and Bombardier, unveiling the 115,000-pound (maximum takeoff weight), Mach 0.925 Falcon 10X. The company expects the $75 million, 7,500-nautical-mile (at Mach 0.85) twinjet to enter service in 2025.
Compared with offerings from its bizjet peer group, the cabin of the 10X will be at least eight inches wider and five inches taller. It’s six feet, eight inches tall; nine feet, one inch wide; and 53 feet, 10 inches long, yielding 2,780 cubic feet of cabin space. That’s a full 177 cubic feet more than the Gulfstream G650/700 offers, but six cubic feet less than the Bombardier Global 7500 provides. While the latter has a longer cabin, however, it is considerably narrower, at eight feet wide, and with six inches less headroom. The larger tube also accommodates a more capacious forward lav and a galley big enough for scratch cooking. Natural light floods the cabin through 38 windows that are 50 percent larger than those on the 8X, Dassault’s previous flagship. Humidity levels can be set and a new air filtration system delivers what the airframer says is “100 percent pure air.” Cabin altitude at 41,000 feet is just 3,000 feet.
The 10X should deliver good short runway performance thanks to a new, all-carbon fiber, highly swept wing with integrated winglets and a clever flap and leading-edge slat design, as well as a pair of Rolls-Royce Pearl engines bolted onto the back. The Pearls deliver more than 18,000 pounds of thrust each and incorporate a variety of new design features that make them cleaner and more efficient. They are also wired to an advanced engine-health-monitoring system, as is the entire aircraft. The cockpit will have the digital touchscreen “next-generation” flight deck—based on the Honeywell Primus Epic system—features full fly-by-wire controls, automatic flight envelope, and “recovery” protections. It also offers the “FalconEye” system, which combines enhanced and synthetic vision and a dual head-up display.