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Thinking of a New Jet?
Are you planning to invest in a new company aircraft- asks Dave Higdon? Mission needs drive model options- while financial aspects drive a budget that balances purchase price- operational costs and tax impacts. The best options fall near the intersection where the mission and finance lines cross. Following is a review of Light and Medium-size aircraft expected to be available in the near future.

To enjoy the broadest available choices of business aircraft- in addition to considering the current-production aircraft models you should look at aircraft in development. Forward thinking enlarges your pool of choices. [Note: all range statements are IFR with NBAA reserves.]

Among the in-development light jets to watch is Honda’s HondaJet on-track for certification late in 2012. HondaJet offers plenty of interior space thanks to its distinctive engine mounts – pylons on the upper-wing - that free the cabin from heavy structure typically required for fuselage-mounted engines.

If cabin space is important to your mission needs- the HondaJet should be of interest to you (as should its 1-180-nautical mile range- carrying four). Cessna’s newly announced Citation M2- meanwhile- is a light jet designed to fulfill the function that the CJ1 once did. Offering six seats- and traveling approximately 60 knots quicker than the smaller Citation Mustang- the 1-400-nautical-mile Citation M2 is priced lower than the CJ1. The M2 is due in the latter half of 2013.

Cessna is also updating its Citation X- re-branding it the Citation Ten. The major differences include new engines- state-of-the-art avionics- and- most important to a prospective business traveler- a longer fuselage. Certification of the 3-245-nauticalmile Citation Ten is also expected during 2013.

Bombardier is breaking the mold in Business Aviation with its upcoming Learjet 85- which will become the first all-composite business jet. (Use of composites give the aircraft a lighter weight- allow for slicker aerodynamics- and provide greater cabin space – in this case- approximately 18 percent more room than its closest competitor.) The Learjet 85 (with ability to cover up to 3-000 nautical miles) is designed to cater to mission needs that fall between Bombardier’s existing Learjet 60XR and Challenger 300 models. Certification is currently scheduled for 2013.

Embraer offers the Legacy 450 and larger- longer-legged Legacy 500 - two new players in the upper medium-cabin jet segment once certified. The Legacy 450 offers a range of 2-200 nautical miles (carrying eight)- while the latter offers 2-800 nautical miles range flying the same payload. These two models should be certified by 2013.

Somewhat further out in 2015- Cessna expects to certificate its newly announced Citation Latitude- a medium-size jet with a new cabin. This model is a modified version of the proven Citation Sovereign and will utilize the same modern avionics as the Citation Ten.

For six decades airframe designers have studied ways to create a single-engine jet in the Business Aviation arena. Single engine aircraft hold plenty of appeal- including jet performance at lower cost- turbine reliability- single-engine simplicity- and single-pilot flight ease.

Today- there are several concepts of single-engine business jets working at various stages of development. Renewed development work on two designs in particular have raised hopes for that first-ever single-engine business jet to be certified in the near future. Both are reviewed below.

Diamond Aircraft- recently backed by investment from Medrar Financial Group- expects near-term certification of the Diamond D-Jet the company has been working on for several years now. The D-Jet offers a five-seat capacity- and should be certified for single-pilot operations. Designed for business trips ranging ideally between 350 to 700 miles- this jet design is attractively priced below $2 million.

Cirrus Aircraft has also announced the revival of its Cirrus SJ50 Vision single-engine jet- following the company’s acquisition by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (AVIC). The projected performance is very similar to that of the D-Jet; the SJ50 will also seat five- operate with a single pilot- cater for business trips between 350-700 miles and is currently priced under $2million.

The above review of light and medium jets expected to come on to the market in the near- to medium-term includes models expected to enter service over the next four years.

When considering your own company’s medium-term travel requirements- these options should be factored in to your planning as you weigh the right jet to provide transportation for your all-important company employees.

Do you have any questions or opinions on the above topic? Get them answered/published in World Aircraft Sales Magazine. Email feedback to: Jack@avbuyer.com 

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