Mike Chase has thirty-five year's extensive global managerial experience in marketing,... Read More
Filling the wide gap in the middle
Theoretically- the smallest jet can journey to any point on land- though it may take many stops en route- costing you time. A large jet can carry whatever is needed and still fly direct to almost everywhere- but with significantly heavier demand on your budget. Thankfully there are a wide array of aircraft between the Light Jets and the Large Cabin and Ultra-Long-Range aircraft categories.
The ‘Medium Jets’ featured here cater for a wide array of different journey requirements. Within this review- our Medium Jet category includes aircraft with range capabilities varying from approximately 3-000 to more than 7-000 kilometers. In addition- the Medium Jets vary in sizes and costs.
For the sake of our Medium Jet review we’ve defined a weight range of between 9-100 and 18-200 kilograms (approximately). Without further discussion- we’ll look at the individual Medium Jet group-members.
Canada’s aerospace giant Bombardier offers two very different aircraft in the Medium Jet segment at present - one a Challenger derivative- the other a Learjet.
The Challenger 300 offers a tall- stand-up cabin just under two meters in height- and more than two meters in width. Priced at about $24 million- the Challenger 300 offers one of the lowest-price options for a cabin of such dimensions.
The Challenger 300 is just as fast as its larger kin- the Challenger 600-series- while also proving highly capable in lift and range. With full fuel and available payload- the aircraft can fly comfortably more than 5-700 kilometers - highly useful for crossing oceans or continents.
Even if you carry a full load of people and equipment- along with full fuel load- the Challenger 300 can still travel more than 5-000 kilometers. For all of these benefits- the Challenger 300 needs less than 1-500 meters of runway length for take-off and landing.
Meantime- Bombardier’s Learjet aircraft is famous worldwide- with its design stretching back to the original Model 23- circa 1963. The Learjet 60XR is a modern-day evolution of that early aircraft design.
While the Learjet 60XR’s cabin is taller- wider and longer than those first Learjets- it is about 20 percent smaller than the Challenger 300’s. Its engines deliver the Learjet 60XR the power and efficiency needed to fly more than 4-400 kilometers at cruise speed- and the Learjet 60XR delivers this level of performance on far less fuel than some of its competitors.
The Learjet 60XR is among the least-expensive aircraft to acquire in our Medium Jet segment at $14 million. Soon- though- the Learjet 60XR will have a new member in the family that will bring to an end its time as the largest Learjet.
Well along in its design phase- the Learjet 85 promises to bring a new level of comfort- utility and speed to the Learjet name.
The design parameters for the Learjet 85 call for a cabin 1.8 meters tall- 1.9 meters wide and about 7.6 meters long (8 centimeters taller- 1 centimeter wider and 75 centimeters longer than the 60XR). The new cabin can include an optional 2.2-meter-long sofa capable of seating three – with space beneath for storage.
Once certified- the Learjet 85 promises a maximum range of 5-500 kilometers flying with four passengers at cruise speed – all with Learjet’s typical high fuel efficiency. Bombardier has set the target price at $18.25 million (2008 USD).
More information from www.aero.bombardier.com
Cessna Aircraft is the world’s largest supplier of business jets with two current offerings in the Medium Jet segment from its extensive Citation line-up. These are the Citation Sovereign and the Citation X (Roman numeral for 10).
One of Cessna’s largest Citations- the Sovereign provides a spacious cabin more than 7.7 meters long- 1.6 meters wide and 1.7 meters tall. The Sovereign offers fuel efficiency that lets it fly trips as long as 5-265 kilometers.
It can also use dozens of airports inaccessible by many of its competitors operating from runways as short as 1-109 meters- which is the best in the Medium segment- and better than a few in the Light Jet segment. The highly competitive price of about $18 million helps make the Citation Sovereign popular.
Meanwhile- Cessna’s flagship Citation X leads all other business jets in service as the world’s fastest civilian aircraft. The Citation Sovereign’s cabin was designed from the Citation X’s- although the Citation X’s cabin is actually about 0.3 meters shorter.
The Citation X is highly flexible- and capable of flying from runways as short as 1-567 meters. A recent addition of elliptical winglets to the aircraft has improved its overall performance. The upwardly curved surfaces extending from the Citation X’s wings reduce drag and extend range to 5-963 kilometers.
To buy a Citation X- you would expect to pay around $22 million – until- that is- the upgraded model comes to market...
Newly announced last October- the Citation Ten has upgraded engines over the Citation X; a longer fuselage; a new interior design that increases useable space; and all-new cockpit systems.
Compared with the Citation X- a new cabin-entertainment and cabin-function management system- new lighting and a refined galley are all part of the package. High-speed internet- cabin communications connections and WiFi are also expected to be a standard feature.
The new Citation Ten will also boast a longer range and higher payload. First flight of the prototype Citation Ten is due later in 2011; certification in some regions is expected in 2013- along with initial deliveries. The price is projected to be just under $22 million.
More information from www.cessna.com
The Falcon 2000LX received its certification in early 2009 and quickly earned credibility as the most-capable of the Falcon 2000-series aircraft. Its distinctive winglets improve performance efficiency by reducing wing drag- and effectively increasing wingspan.
With its winglets the Falcon 2000LX boasts a maximum range of nearly 7-685 kilometers- which enables it to connect a large array of cities - Beijing with Moscow- for example – non-stop. Its runway requirements are short enough to get in and out of most regional airports.
With a cabin stretching nearly 8 meters in length- 2.34 meters in width and 1.88 meters in height- customers are given a variety of finishing options to suit their needs. The equipped price of the 2000LX is approximately $32.1 million.
More information from www.falconjet.com
Legacy 450/Legacy 500
Embraer’s two smaller Legacy models will offer competitive options in the Medium Jet arena once certified. They vary slightly to cater for different range- runway and cabin needs- however.
The Legacy 450 can fly more than 4-200 kilometers while carrying four aboard- or approximately 4-000 kilometers with eight persons in the cabin. The Legacy 500 can go much further - 5-500 kilometers with four on board or 5-100 kilometers with eight passengers.
Both aircraft models can lay claim to having among the shortest runway requirements in the segment- with the Legacy 450 needing 1-219 meters and the Legacy 500 using just 1-402- both at their maximum takeoff weight.
The cabin of both jets stands about 1.82 meters tall- 2.08 meters in width- and feature a flat floor for passenger comfort - but they differ in length- with the Legacy 450 sporting a cabin 6.83 meters long- and the 500 nearly 8.17 meters long.
Work continues towards certification of both models- with the Legacy 500 due for first flight this year- and the Legacy 450 to follow with first flight in 2012. Prices are around $16 million for the Legacy 450 and under $19 million for the Legacy 500.
More information from www.embraerexecutivejets.com
Gulfstream’s three aircraft in the Medium Jet segment includes the G150- G200 and G250. The in-production G150 and G200 offer cabin space that passengers find spacious and comfortable- with the G150 cabin measuring 1.75 meters tall and wide- and 5.4 meters long- and the G200’s cabin wider than it is tall inside- at 1.9 meters high- 2.2 meters wide and 7.4 meters long.
In addition to cabin size- the G150 and G200 differ only in subtle ways. For example- the G150 offers runway performance and systems integration capable of tackling one of the world’s most-challenging airports- London City Airport (a converted pier along the Thames River in England’s capital).
When called on- the G150 can operate from just 1-500 meters of runway – and return to land on as little as 900 meters – while fueled to fly about 5-500 kilometers carrying four passengers.
The G200 can cover about 6-300 kilometers at cruise speed. While the G200 is priced at under $24 million- the smaller G150 is a value-leader at under $16 million.
The G250 is a follow–on to the G200 with impressive range among the Medium Jets – and it achieves this while adding considerable luggage and lavatory space- yet preserving the main-cabin size of the G200.
Due for certification later this year- the G250 promises excellent runway numbers (the G250 needs only 1-500 meters of runway)- while delivering range of 6-300 kilometers (with two crew and four passengers). It would seem the $24 million price tag makes the G250 excellent value.
More information from www.gulfstream.com
Hawker 750/900XP The Hawker 750 and Hawker 900XP are two new incarnations of the venerable Hawker-Siddeley 125 business jet- but are larger and significantly more sophisticated. Both share cabin amenities - each offering cabin space of about 6.5 meters length- 1.8 meters width and 1.75 meters height.
The Hawker 900XP differs in that it sports a wider wingspan with drag-reducing winglets- as well as increased fuel capacity - both of which benefit its overall performance. For under $16 million- the Hawker 900XP delivers over 5-200 kilometers of range.
Expect to pay about $13 million for a Hawker 750- which delivers a maximum range of about 3-900 kilometers. Both aircraft are capable of operating from runways less than 1-500 meters in length.
Hawker 4000 An all-carbon-fiber composite fuselage mated to an all-metal wing enables the Hawker 4000 to provide a fuselage with a smaller outside diameter than would be possible with a metal fuselage.
Offering a spacious cabin measuring 7.6 meters in length- 1.97 meters in width- and 1.83 meters in height- the Hawker 4000 also features a flat floor allowing passengers to walk around the cabin in comfort.
The aircraft is a highly capable model with a 6-000 kilometer range. Runway requirement is below 1-500 meters- and the Hawker 4000 also excels in fuel efficiency. It retails for about $23 million.
More information from www.hawkerbeechcraft.com
EIGHT KEY STATISTICS - MEDIUM JETS AT A GLANCE Following is a list of Medium Jet types currently available from the manufacturers- or that will be available in the very near future. The figures are as up to date as possible but readers are advised to use them as a guide only. Always contact the manufacturer to confirm performance and specifications.