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LARGE JETS ROUND UP (2005)

The continuation of a long-term evolution.

Dave Higdon   |   1st October 2005
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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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The continuation of a long-term evolution.

Choosing a business jet for sale typically centers on the needs of the company and the company people destined to travel in the airplane. Sometimes what works is a little like a cubicle with wings; people can work in its small space- but it is cramped – and they seldom have to work there for very long.

For other situations- though- something akin to a mobile suite-in-the-sky best fits the need; a space in which the travelers can settle in for long periods- and work in the same comfort- with the same efficiency- as back at their ground-based office. The bigger space may also be needed because of the number and activities of the people using the main cabin. When many need to meet and produce as a team- an aerial conference room works best. It’s businesses with needs like this that continue to support growth in the large-cabin jet segment of business aviation.

With space as large as many office suites- these big birds not only offer all the accouterments as a regular office- but also mobility across vast distances at jet speeds and with corporate operations convenience – that is- minus the added time and hassles of flying common carriers. Answering the call for business-suite-size aerial conveyances- private jet sales manufacturers offer a wide variety of options for the corporate operator. By our categorization standards- this segment includes no fewer than nine designs from four different planemakers- including a couple of new models within the past couple of years. These aircraft for sale offer the ultimate in long-range performance- office-suite spaciousness and high value.

Large-cabin jets for sale defined

For our categorizing we’ve defined this segment to include business jet sales- weighing from 40-000 to 80-000 pounds.

As mentioned- with the large jet segment comes large cabins. With interior heights typically exceeding six feet- the majority of travelers should never find headroom an issue. Large cabin also means long-range flying- in general. Thanks to cruise ranges of more than 3-000 miles- these jets generally provide non-stop capability when loaded- obviating the need to ever have to compromise the choice of people or distance. These larger jets also offer high value for the operator. With prices ranging approximately between $25 million to $35 million- large-cabin jets typically fulfill owners’ business travel needs efficiently and offer an opportunity to generate their own revenue as charter or lease-back machines- further improving their contribution as corporate tools.

Essentially- given the efficient use of time and people in a large cabin- companies operating large jets can expect to benefit from the tangible advantages of rested- fresh- sharp people representing them. The blend of advantages continues to drive sales- and should do for years to come to help fulfill predictions of 700 to 800 large-cabin deliveries annually across the next decade.

BOMBARDIER AEROSPACE:

Challenger 604 for sale

Still going strong after nine years- the Challenger 604 remains an attractive value in large cabin jets – or- as Bombardier likes to call its Challengers- 'wide-body jets.'

First introduced back in 1996- the fifth-generation Challenger 604 still offers as a major asset its intercontinental capabilities. In addition to its roomy cabin and long legs- the Challenger’s broad mission flexibility and strong factory support remain as underpinnings to its overall popularity.

Capable of covering almost 4-100 nautical miles non-stop- the Challenger 604 easily flies between disparate points such as London and Chicago- Riyadh and Paris or Tokyo and Seattle. You can dial in your own city pairs for scores of other trip needs.

Equipped with Collins’ top-of-the-mark Pro Line 4 avionics- the Challenger 604 provides its crew with all the safety and operational benefits of a fully integrated panel that covers all navigation- weather and engine data. The added safety of a heads-up guidance system enhances situational awareness.

For the back-cabin occupants- Bombardier’s Challenger 604 provides options for integrated communications equipment as well as an active-noise reduction system that virtually cancels intruding noise and largely eliminates a major source of flight fatigue. Bombardier also improved the 604’s high-temperature and high-altitude performance numbers; reduced maintenance needs; and improved fuel efficiency – all enhancements that serve to improve the overall value of this highly capable business jet for sale.

At just over $26 million equipped- the proof of the Challenger 604’s value shows in its success in attracting new buyers nearly a decade after its introduction.

Challenger 850 ELR & Challenger 850 CS

A variant of the Bombardier Regional Jet airliner- the Challenger 850 ELR rules the large-cabin segment by virtue of its lengthy cabin. The 850 ELR’s cabin stretches more than 48 feet long – 20 feet longer than the 604 – approaching that of Bombardier’s globetrotting Global Express (with which we’ll deal in a coming segment on Ultra-Large Cabin/Ultra-Long Range jets next month).

But even as a spin-off use from its original intent- the Challenger 850 ELR fits nicely in this classification by virtue of several other traits. For example- the 850 ELR boasts a transcontinental range of more than 3-100 nautical miles.

With that level of continent spanning capability- the Challenger 850 can connect New York to Los Angeles- New York to London or London to Jeddah- while retaining NBAA IFR reserves. The 850 also offers the time advantages of its Mach 0.74 cruise - as good as- or better than most airliners of its ilk.

The 850 ELR offers operators the flexibility of a wide variety of cabin designs that provide this wide-body corporate jet for sale with all the productivity benefits operators should ever want. Seating configurations covering 14 to 19 passengers retain all the trappings of the modern purpose-designed business jets – among them conference areas- divans- club seats and armchairs- and- of course- office and telecommunications equipment.

For operators who face high-volume staff-travel needs- Bombardier offers another variant: the 850 CS- a corporate shuttle version- with seating for as many as 30 and a maximum range of more than 2-500 nautical miles.

The 850 ELR’s price comes in comfortably under $29 million well equipped for its executive work; for the 850 CS- the cost is about $24.5 million – a bargain on a per-seat basis.

For More information from www.aero.bombardier.com

DASSAULT:

Falcon 900EX & 900DX

In an arena in which successful products continue to evolve to the point at which they become something new- the 900 Series Falcons have been a constant in both improving and remaining basically the same.

For more than two decades- the triple powerplant Falcon 900 series have provided the ultimate in utility and versatility. Whether crossing large expanses of ocean or flying a relatively more forgiving tract of continent- that three-engine configuration has allowed operators to choose the most efficient route sans compromise.

That singular trait remains a trademark of Dassault’s current 900 incarnations: the Falcon 900DX and Falcon 900EX. And these Falcons stand as the only choices among large cabin jet users who desire a triple jet’s distinct combination of redundancy and comfort. The 900EX- Dassault’s highest performing variant of the 900 ever- can fly non-stop a full 4-800 nautical miles. Sporting Honeywell’s TFE731-60 powerplant and Primus 2000 five-screen flight deck in the planemaker’s EASy configuration- the 900EX has long represented the top of Dassault’s abilities.

The 900EX retained all the rest of what made the 900 series so successful- including a cabin more than six feet tall and 7.7 feet wide- and a speedy Mach 0.82 cruise capability. The price of this capability comes in at under $35 million- smartly equipped. The 900EX remains alone in business aviation thanks to its combination of speed- range- comfort and price.

For slightly less than $32 million- the 900DX remains second only to the 900EX for the same reasons – although with a shorter range (about 4-100 nautical)- at a slightly lower gross weight (46-700 pounds versus 48-300 for the EX)- but with the same speed and power.

Best of all- the 900DX enjoys a slight edge in fuel efficiency and about a 250-foot reduction in runway need at gross weight.

For More information from www.dassaultfalcon.com

EMBRAER Legacy Executive & Legacy Shuttle

One of the newest OEMs in business aviation- Brazil’s Embraer recently announced plans to create new business jets in the light- and very light jet segments. But it’s the Legacy models from which Embraer first established a serious contender in business aviation.

Embraer has plenty of experience in South American general aviation as a manufacturer of its own and licensed designs of light aircraft. Likewise- the company is a known entity in the regional airline community for its line of propjet and jet airliners – some of which wound up serving as corporate aircraft. Embraer has also manufactured some light military aircraft. Those segments were prologue to the acceptance Embraer enjoys today – just as there are solid reasons why these two variants of the EMB-145 airliner helped Embraer clear that wall into yet another field.

First- the Legacy models offer operators yet more alternatives for a large cabin jet with business aircraft performance. Second- the Legacies also offer highly competitive numbers across the board: performance- size and price.

Similar to the Challenger- Embraer offers both Executive and Shuttle versions of the Legacy models evolved out of Embraer’s strong-performing line of regional airliners- much like the Challenger 850 grew out of the CRJ. And many performance parameters grow out of the roots of the original design. The Legacy Executive- to note one- cruises as fast as Mach 0.8.

Carrying eight- the Legacy Executive can cover more than 3-200 nautical miles. And those eight passengers enjoy the comfort of a cabin standing 6 feet tall- spanning 6.9 feet across and stretching almost 50 feet long.

The Legacy Shuttle gives up most of that range when finished to carry 37 people- with a max-payload range just short of 1-200 nautical miles. Configured for all first class seating- the Legacy Shuttle accommodates as many as 19.

Beyond the mission differences between the Executive and Shuttle versions of the Legacy- both jets share their engines – the Rolls-Royce AE 3007 A1/3 rated at 7-057 pounds of thrust for the Shuttle and the A1E version in the Executive rated at 7-953 – and their five-screen EFIS panels from Honeywell. While the wings differ slightly- the net result of the two models’ configuration is runway requirements of about 5-600 feet. The Shuttle tops the scales at more than 44-000 pounds- while the Executive goes at more than 49-000 pounds – their empty weights differ by about the same amount. The Executive provides a capacity for more than 18-000 pounds of fuel- almost 7-000 pounds more than the Shuttle version.

Their relatively low prices make either one a high-value option. The Executive commands a bit more than $22.4 million while the Shuttle goes for just under $17 million.

For More information from www.embraer.com

GULFSTREAM AEROSPACE:

G350

No company offers more models in the top-three categories than Gulfstream - and two of its models fit into this bracket- each with its own distinct profile.

The G350 might best be described as a GIVSP trimmed down a few thousand pounds to a lighter empty weight- a lower fuel capacity and a reduced purchase cost – while retaining what makes it a player in the Large Cabin class.

Cruising at a hot Mach 0.88- the G350 can cover nearly 3-900 nautical miles while carrying eight and crew after launching from a little less than 5-100 feet of runway. Giving credit to its 13-850 pounds of power generated by its Rolls-Royce Tay Mk. 611-8C engines for the speed and fuel efficiency- we don’t want to ignore the remarkably short runway use that helps put this Gulfstream high in flexibility.

A low 6-500-msl maximum cabin altitude helps passengers arrive without the fatigue of high-altitude travel- as does the G350’s cabin itself. At just over 6 feet high- 7.3 feet across and more than 45 feet long- the G350 provides its travelers with the same vast space as its bigger kin- the G450.

Gulfstream endowed the G350 with its own PlaneView panel- a Gulfstream-specific execution of the Primus Epic system from Honeywell. The airplane can be further enhanced with Gulfstream’s groundbreaking Enhanced Vision System (EVS) providing improved situational and runway awareness in reduced-visibility flying. 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.

G450

Certified last year- the G450 matches the G350 in many ways – but with more. Take the same airframe- engines and panel; beef up the empty weight of the airplane; and up fuel capacity. That’s the sum of the parts of the G450.

Thanks to these changes- the Gulfstream G450 can fly non-stop more than 4-300 nautical miles carrying eight in the cabin and crew. Runway performance grows to only 5-400 feet while top speed holds at Mach 0.88.

The G450 also benefits from all the other enhancements we noted in the Gulfstream G350 – PlaneView panel- EVS- the works. The G450 also employs the FADEC-controlled Rolls-Royce Tay 611-8C engines. Gulfstream’s newest value-driven business jet is already selling well at about $33.5 million.

More information from www.gulfstream.com


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