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Whoever said- The more things change the more they remain the same- could not have considered the current state of the aviation world – let alone the business aviation segment.

Dave Higdon   |   1st October 2004
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Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
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Whoever said- 'The more things change the more they remain the same-' could not have considered the current state of the aviation world – let alone the business aviation segment.

For nearly 101 years- aviation has been marked by ever-continuing change – not to the basic idea of man moving three dimensionally through our atmosphere- but absolutely in the breadth and depth of what we want to do up there- in the variety of equipment available to accomplish our ambitions- and the relative ease and confidence with which we defy gravity.

Aviation started its second century with two significant revolutions developing- one for personal flying- the other more for corporate aircraft for sale. Interestingly- both serve to lower the admission cost of participating in their respective segments. As a result- never more than now have corporate aircraft users enjoyed a wider array of options in the business jets for sale they choose to further their business travel needs.

For the avocational aviator- that revolution became real on September 1- when new FAA rules created a new class of aircraft and operator’s license. Already- the private flying landscape is evolving thanks to the revolution brought by the Light Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot rules.

Meantime- corporate aviators and operators wait patiently for the revolution in business aircraft coming with the advent of a new smaller class of business jet defined by designs like the pioneering Eclipse 500- Adam A700 and other very light jets. Proof-of-concept models of both the above aircraft have flown and conformal versions should be flying within the next few months – for the Eclipse- by year’s end.

When this new category of jet becomes operational in 2005 or 2006- business aviation users will have no fewer than five distinct segments from which they can pick planes to match specific needs- whether mission specific- budgetary or some combination of the two.

However- choices of used aircraft for sale such as business jets continue to grow within the established segments – and nowhere is that more evident than within the large-cabin business jet segment. By our categorization standards- this segment includes no fewer than nine designs from four different planemakers- a couple of which were unavailable just a year ago.

These aircraft may offer the best blend of long-range performance- office-suite spaciousness and high value among all the used business aircraft for sale segments.

Large-cabin jets defined:
No hedging here – this group counts as it’s members nothing but big business jets; jets weighing 40-000 to 80-000 pounds- to be precise. Cabins all exceed 6 feet in height- so for the majority of us headroom is never an issue.

Long-distance running is another group trait. Thanks to cruise ranges that exceed 3-000 miles – with a cabin-load of business people – none of these business jets generally demand that operators make hard choices between personnel and leg room.

Indeed- with prices commensurate with capability – approximately $25 million to $35 million – the jet aircraft for sale often cost effectively fulfil owners’ corporate travel needs and even generate revenue on their own to further improve their benefits profile. Beyond the economics that drive big jet buying decisions- the efficiencies of time and work also provide an intangible benefit when key people arrive rested- fresh and ready to deal.

That combination should continue to drive sales for years to come- with forecasts of 700 to 800 large-cabin deliveries through the next 10 years.

With future contenders likely to further enhance already strong corporate asset credentials- today’s batch can be considered the baseline for spacious- speedy- long-distance business travel.

Bombardier Aerospace
Challenger 604
Long considered a top value in large-cabin business jets – or wide-body models- as Bombardier puts it – the 604 version of the Challenger represents the fifth generation of the type- with well over 600 delivered Challengers in operation.

Introduced in 1996- the Challenger 604 aircraft for sale offers intercontinental performance as a backbone to its overall value. A wide mission profile and Bombardier’s customer support help round out the package.

The Challenger 604’s non-stop range of nearly 4-100 nautical miles accommodates legs that connect Tokyo to Seattle- Riyadh to Paris- even London to Chicago – as well as dozens of other origin-and-destination combinations.

The Challenger 604 provides the crew with the operational benefits of its Collins Pro Line 4 integrated avionics suite- as well as the comfort of an integral EICAS for monitoring powerplant condition.

Improved high-temperature and high-altitude performance stand as other advances that make the 604 a better value than its predecessors- including reduced maintenance needs and improved fuel efficiency.

Bombardier jet for sale offers cabin options that include an active noise reduction system that lowers cabin sound to unprecedented levels. For the flight crew- the added situational awareness of a heads-up guidance system is another enhancement.

At about $26 million- the Challenger 604 remains a success thanks to the high value of its operating and use traits.

Challenger 800/Challenger 800 Shuttle
Evolved as a variant of Bombardier’s highly efficient Regional aircraft for sale and commercial airliner- the Challenger 800 rules the large-cabin segment by virtue of its lengthy cabin. The 800’s cabin stretches more than 48 feet long- approaching that of Bombardier’s globetrotting Global Express. However- the Challenger 800 also fits well into this group with a transcontinental range exceeding 3-100 nautical miles- and commensurate flexibility.

With that level of continent-spanning capability- the 800 can connect New York to Los Angeles- New York to London or London to Jeddah- plus NBAA IFR reserves. Indeed- the Challenger 800 offers time efficiency ahead of most airliners- with cruise speeds up to Mach 0.74.

A vast selection of seating configurations help give this wide-body business jet all the productivity benefits its operators could need. Those floor plans easily accommodate seating configurations of 14 to 19 passengers – with all the corporate aircraft for sale accoutrements: office gear- conference areas- divans- club seats and armchairs.

The Challenger 800’s price comes in comfortably under $28 million well equipped for work.

Also worth note: For companies with heavy-duty personnel travel needs- Bombardier offers a shuttle version of the Challenger 800. With seating for as many as 30 – in a cabin designed to seat far more in airline configuration – the Challenger 800 Shuttle boasts a maximum range exceeding 2-500 nautical miles for a price under $23.5 million.

Falcon 900EX & 900C
For many operators the mission profile often includes flying across vast expanses of water- an environment in which twin-engine business jets face limitations that translate into longer flights. Those restrictions go away with three engines though – an alternative available only from Dassault and its Falcons.

Currently- Dassault’s Falcon 900C and Falcon 900EX serve as the only choices this class offers those operators who want a three-engine jet’s unique blend of comfort and redundancy.

In production for more than two decades- the Falcon 900 business jets for sale series’ triple-powerplant design stands as only one aspect of its versatility and utility. The newest incarnation of the Falcon 900 – the 900EX – can cover a full 4-500 nautical miles- about 12.5 percent better than the 900C.

Sporting Honeywell’s TFE731-60 powerplant and Primus 2000 five-screen flight deck in the planemaker’s EASy configuration- the Falcon 900EX aircraft for sale has represented the top of Dassault’s abilities when it first flew in 1995.

The Falcon 900EX retained all the rest of what made the Falcon 900 series so successful- including a cabin more than six feet tall and 7.8 feet wide- and a speedy Mach 0.82 cruise capability. At under $35 million- smartly equipped- the Falcon 900EX remains alone in business aviation thanks to its combination of speed- range- comfort and price.

For just a bit more than $31 million- the 900C remains second only to the 900EX for the same reasons – although with a shorter range and slightly less power.

Legacy Executive & Legacy Shuttle
A new member of this class- the Brazilian-made Legacy from Embraer offers another set of alternatives for business aircraft operators in need of a vast cabin and solid performance. Offered in both Executive and Shuttle versions- the Embraer Legacy for sale models evolved out of Embraer’s strong-performing line of regional airliners- much like the Challenger 800. They do so with highly competitive numbers- in performance- size and price.

For example- the Legacy Executive can fly at Mach 0.8 on legs exceeding 3-200 nautical miles carrying eight in a cabin that stretches to nearly 50 feet in length. At 6 feet high and 6.11 feet wide- few jets in its class match the Legacy Executive in cabin space.

With a max-payload maximum range of nearly 1-200 nautical- the Legacy Shuttle gives up some of its cousin’s range in favor of cabin payloads in line with its mission – ferrying up to 37 people in an airline shuttle interior or 19 in an all-first-class configuration. Otherwise- the two jets share panels – Honeywell- five-screen- integrated – and engines- the Rolls-Royce AE 3007. The Shuttle uses two AE 3007 A1/3 engines each making 7-057 pounds of thrust; the Executive flies on a pair of AE 3007 A1E and their 7-953 pounds of push.

Although the wings differ slightly- the net result of both models’ engine-and-airframe union is runway needs as short as 5-600 feet- more than respectable for business jets for sale of this size. The Shuttle tops the scales at more than 44-000 pounds- while the Executive – with a higher fuel capacity – goes 5-000 pounds heavier.

Both can be considered value leaders- with prices among the best in class- and support available through a network that already supports hundreds of EMB-model airliners.

The Shuttle variant comes in at just over $16 million- while the Executive commands a bit more than $21 million. Regardless- both jets can deliver the goods for operators interested in maximum value.

Gulfstream Aerospace
Gulfstream’s lengthy product catalog includes two business airplanes for sale in the large jet category- both offer standout performance and value- and the G350 typifies why the Savannah planemaker continues to excel in this group.

Evolved out of the highly capable Gulfstream G300 for sale that we looked at here last year- the G350 ups the ante without upsetting the cost-versus-value equation. The numbers explain why.

The G350 can carry eight and fly at a smoking Mach 0.88 for distances exceeding more than 3-850 miles. The G350 can start such missions from runways shorter than 5-100 feet – putting more airports on the useable list than most aircraft for sale in its class – thanks to the 13-850 pounds of power generated by its two Rolls-Royce Tay Mk. 611-8C engines.

Because of its drag-cheating lines and fuel-efficient powerplants- the G350 needs but 23-000 pounds of fuel to deliver these numbers- with reserves remaining.

Even with these numbers- the G350 wraps all this performance in a roomy cabin that stretches more than 45 feet long- stands tall at more than six feet- and spans a elbow-pleasing 7.4 feet wide.

Thanks to a low maximum cabin altitude – a mere 6-500 msl – and cabin configurations that can incorporate as many as six sleeping berths – G350 travelers can count on arriving fresh and ready for work after virtually any mission needed by its operators – short-hop- regional- continent-crossing or ocean-spanning.

And the crew’s interaction with the aircraft benefits from the introduction of Gulftstream’s new PlaneView panel- a unique implementation of Honeywell’s Primus Epic system that includes the debut of Jeppesen Flight Deck electronic charts and plates.

Gulfstream business jets for sale also offers the G350 Gulfstream jets for sale with its pioneering EVS Enhanced Vision System for improved safety in low-visibility conditions. Combined with a Honeywell 2020 Heads-Up Display (HUD)- EVS gives pilots heat-sensitive eyes that can see through the dark and the mist to reveal runway markings- obstructions and other potential hazards. The value factor becomes clearer with this final set of numbers: about $27.5 million.

Take the same G300 airframe- same engines and panel- add fuel capacity and higher operating weights- and the result is the G450 Gulfstream jet for sale – an enhancement of last year’s G400.

Introduced last year at NBAA in Orlando and certified just weeks ago- the G450 matches the G350 in many ways… but with more. For example- the G450 can cover more than 4-300 nautical miles – still with eight in the cabin and a crew of two. Runway performance stands at 5-400 feet and top speed matches up to the G350 at Mach 0.88. Indeed- the G450 Gulfstream jets for sale also sports Gulfstream’s PlaneView panel and EVS for maximum utility and safety.

The G450 employs the FADEC-controlled Rolls-Royce Tay 611-8C engines that provide a range gain over the G400 of about 250 nautical miles- and also sports a new Honeywell APU- new NORDAM composite single-pivot thrust reversers and several G550 systems. Structural changes anticipated include moving the cabin door aft to improve on the completion possibilities.

Gulfstream expects the first G450s to enter service in the second quarter of next year- and the planemaker’s newest value-driven business jet is already selling well at about $33 million.

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