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EXPLORING INNER SPACE: Large jets deliver with few restrictions. When space is an issue- many corporations find themselves on the prowl for bigger digs - for room to not only spread out but to grow- as well. That same solution applies when corporate aircraft operators find they need something more out of the company wings than the constrained space of the light- or medium-category jet they already fly. With plenty of room to grow into- the large-cabin class often offers the perfect answer ...

Dave Higdon   |   1st September 2006
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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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Large jets deliver with few restrictions

When space is an issue- many corporations find themselves on the prowl for bigger digs - for room to not only spread out but to grow- as well. That same solution applies when corporate aircraft operators find they need something more out of the company wings than the constrained space of the light- or medium-category jet they already fly.

With plenty of room to grow into- the large-cabin class often offers the perfect answer to that need. Smaller- shorter-legged and less expensive than the ultra-long-range jets- the large jets typically provide the passengers with plenty of stand-up cabin space.

Blend the large-cabin space and range for trans-continental or trans-oceanic crossings- throw in all the trappings of a modern office suite- and you have a business-transportation system suitable for the travel demands of the most-demanding passengers you’ll likely ever find – the high-level executive and staff.

Phone- fax- high-speed internet service- multi-user servers and even satellite television and radio make the cabin a place where several can work without interfering with each other- and individuals can arrive rested and fresh to face their competitive demands. Subtract- however- the fresh challenges airline travel has produced in the past month- and it’s no wonder that these $25m-$39m machines stay in high demand.

Bigger than some- smaller than others
As you’ve seen in prior round-up articles on light and medium jets- defining a class isn’t always as clear-cut as a hold-short line at a runway. For our purposes we’re treating as a large jet any model with a Maximum Gross Take-Off Weight (MGTOW) between 40-000 pounds and 80-000 pounds. That’s generally consistent with this group – as is transcontinental-plus range- modern avionics and the latest in powerplant technologies.

We covered two models slightly over 40-000 pounds last month as medium jets- reasoning that their slight upward move in MGTOW came as the result of improvements to operating performance on models originally sized for the medium class. Nonetheless- this time around we discuss two new models to the line-up- one an evolutionary outgrowth of its preceding version- the other another spin-off of another regional airliner for sale.

Only four manufacturers account for these 10 models with one planemaker alone providing four of the group. The remaining three planemakers each offer two. When an airplane is as capable as these large-cabin birds- there are plenty of people willing to pay to travel in the comfort- security and privacy only private aircraft for sale provide. With this much capability to offer- it’s no wonder that many an owner let their aerial asset help earn some of its keep generating revenue as a charter mount when not immediately needed by that owner.

So- somewhere in this group is an airplane for sale suited to the variety of needs- wants and budgets of a wide variety of companies. Read on and see what we mean.

Challenger 605
This spot is where the venerable Challenger 604 business jet for sale appeared last year on our list shortly before Bombardier let us know of the approach of its successor- the 605 we detail here now. But that changeover reflects only the march of technology and human creativity in improving on a good thing.

For its decade in service- the Challenger 604 for sale was always a very good thing- for Bombardier and its customers. After all- a back cabin equipped for every office need – with a wide- airy space- as well – never loses its appeal. At 25.5 feet long- 6.1 feet high and more than 7 feet wide – at floor level- no less – the 605 retains all the spaciousness of its predecessor. Likewise- a still-air range approaching 4-100 nautical miles is always appealing.

Bombardier opted to improve on the sophistication and capabilities of the 604 cockpit equipped with Collins’ excellent ProLine 4 EFIS panel system. So the company tapped Collins again for its highly popular ProLine 21 avionics suite- with its four screen displays and simplified pilot interface.

What really helps keep a product popular is relative value- and Bombardier's ability to package a jet of this capability at under $27 million serves that end perfectly.

Challenger 850ELR & CS
These may be more like working-class cousins to the purpose-built biz-jets- but these corporate converts from the humdrum of common-carrier flying should feel no inferiority complex.

Both 850 models acquit themselves nicely in the space race- with cabins that stretch a vast 48 feet long inside – nearly as long as some larger- farther-flying relatives and a lot longer than the classy 605.

The standard 850CS Shuttle offers only a 2-100-mile range- while the Challenger 850ELR business jet for sale- the more-executive oriented of the two- can stretch its wings nearly 3-100 nautical – mission differences that still fit within the needs of most large jet users.

The airline-pace cruise speed of these models – a respectable Mach 0.74 – allows them to cover plenty of distance quickly enough- and still fit nicely into the airline-oriented ATC systems.

It takes $24.5 million to land the CS version- and $28.9 million for the corporate/executive ELR variant. For this much space- the per-square-foot costs are highly competitive.

Challenger 870CS
The latest addition to the business-variant options available from Bombardier’s airliner inventory ups the ante yet again in terms of space. The main cabin offers a business space 50 feet long. And- as usual- the 870 sports the same expansive height and width as the legendary Challenger line at 6.2 feet tall- 8.2 feet wide at the widest- 7.2 feet at the floor.

The high-tech of the ProLine 4 series flight deck keeps the airline-derived variants capable.

Being slightly faster than the 850 series with about the same range as the 850CS – about 2-100 nautical – gives the 870CS the edge that comes with a huge increase in space when still competitively priced at less than $30 million.

More information from www.aero.bombardier.com

Falcon 900EX & 900DX aircraft for sale 
Dassault remains the singular source of business jets for sale with the redundancy only three engines can offer and the 900EX and 900DX remain the state of the art where Dassault’s top-of-the-line stands – for now.

Capable of cruising a massive 4-800 nautical miles- the class-leading 900EX provides a mission capability no twin can quite match. And the 900EX does so with plenty of speed at Mach 0.82.

The Falcon 900DX business jet for sale matches the EX in speed- size and comfort- but at the cost of about 800 fewer miles in maximum range and a corresponding edge in runway performance that comes from a lower take-off weight.

The five-screen Honeywell Primus 2000 in Dassault’s signature EASy cockpit configuration sets these machines even further from their competitors.

These airplanes for sale aren’t small by large standards- with cabins more than 6 feet tall- 7.7 feet wide and more than 33 feet in passenger-cabin length – out of 39 feet- overall interior length. Despite their big features- large capabilities and those three Honeywell TFE731-60 engines- the 900 Series remain value performers.

The 900DX- with its top-notch performance- goes for just under $33 million- while the top-of-the-mark 900EX commands just over $39 million. When only the redundancy of three engines matters- the 900 Falcons are the current top pick.

More information from www.dassaultfalcon.com

Embraer Legacy Executive/Legacy Shuttle for sale

This Brazilian planemaker continues its march into the general aviation market with plans for two more business jets - these in the ultra-large cabin category we’ll cover later this year.

Last year the company expanded at the lower end of the market- adding a VLJ and a Light jet – the Phenom 100 and Phenom 300- respectively – to its product line of regional airliners and the model spin-offs we address here- appropriately dubbed the Legacies.

The Legacy Executive and Legacy Shuttle both evolved into corporate aircraft out of the EMB135 regional jet.

The Legacy Shuttle sports a 53-foot-long passenger cabin- one that stands 6 feet tall and just short of 7 feet wide at the widest- and offers configurations ranging from a 37-seat high-density cabin to an all first-class arrangement for 19. Configured for the high-density missions- the Shuttle can cover 1-200 nautical miles- the shortest legs in its class.

The Executive- however- can exceed 3-200 nautical miles between stops. The biggest difference is in fuel capacity and gross weight limits- with the Executive capable of carrying about 7-000 pounds more fuel than the Shuttle – the major reason for the 2-000-mile difference in range.

The five-screen Honeywell EFIS panels standard on both models provide all the crew should ever need in navigation- situational awareness- communications- traffic and weather needs.

For a company with the need to move large numbers of people among a number of satellite operations- the Shuttle may well be the best solution economically at under $18 million. For the company looking to maximize its dollars in a more traditional large-cabin corporate aircraft- the Executive offers its own value equation at well under $24 million. How do your needs equate?

More information from www.embraer.com

Gulfstream GIII / 350

Gulfstream’s smaller of its two models in this class is hardly a small bird- not at 6.2 feet tall- 7.3 feet wide and 37 feet long in the passenger cabin. Neither does the G350 hedge on performance.

This Gulfstream 350 business jet for sale can cruise right up to 3-900 nautical miles non-stop- operate from runways as short as 5-050 feet in length- and at speeds as high as Mach 0.88 – all while hauling up to eight plus crew.

Gulfstream’s slick PlaneView panel system- a version of Honeywell’s Primus Epic EFIS system- offers compatibility with the planemaker’s industry-pioneering Enhanced Vision System (an option for the G350) for the best in low-visibility safety when coupled with Honeywell’s 2020 Heads-Up Display technology.

With class-leading speed and runway capability- plenty of cabin space and the latest in office-technology amenities- the Gulfstream G350 for sale can be bought for around $30 million.

Take everything that makes the Gulfstream G350 aircraft for sale appealing and up the ante - by about 500 nautical miles – and you have the major difference you get for the $34.1 million it takes to own the equally speedy Gulfstream G450 business jet for sale. Same airframe- panel- upgraded engines and cabin – just more weight-carrying capability- enhanced power control and added range separate the two.

Yes- the G450 for sale does give up about 400 feet in runway need to the G350- but under 5-500 feet for a jet capable of covering 4-300 nautical miles non-stop – with eight passengers and crew – is still top-notch runway performance. Some medium jets need even more to give you far less.

With the PlaneView panel system- EVS coming as standard- and class-leading speed- the G450 is a value worth considering.

More information from www.gulfstream.com

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