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Size – some would say – isn’t everything. It’s such a common line it’s become a truism. Business aviation is replete with examples of why this rings true. The 12 aircraft in the medium jets group- however- each stand as an example of why size is still important – even if it isn’t everything.     In this segment of business aviation- size is the most obvious point of departure from light jets; these aircraft ...

Dave Higdon   |   1st August 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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Medium jets go far with space & utility

Size – some would say – isn’t everything. It’s such a common line it’s become a truism. Business aviation is replete with examples of why this rings true. The 12 aircraft in the medium jets group- however- each stand as an example of why size is still important – even if it isn’t everything.
    In this segment of business aviation- size is the most obvious point of departure from light jets; these aircraft tend to come in seriously larger sizes. At the same time- they don’t compare with the giants of the fleet – and they have medium-range prices to match.
    Medium jets also tend to deliver more than mere weight- size and volume as departure points from light jets. They also tend to outstrip their light jet kin in range and often in speed. Interestingly- though- they don’t always offer a distinct edge in payload to go with their larger size. These bigger birds often wind up with no more seating and no more full fuel payload than their light-jet relatives.
    What they do offer- without question- is the added comfort of more headroom- elbowroom and per-seat cabin volume- which translates to actual move-around space and all the amenities of an office suite – such as private lavatories and actual galleys with hot-and-cold food capabilities. Common options include in-flight entertainment and in-flight datalink capabilities.
    Yet these medium-class machines still offer runway performance that opens up more fields than their larger kin- with speed that often puts them on an equal footing with the bigger birds in business aviation.
    And they deliver these tangible advantages at prices that- while naturally higher than the light jets- still translate to high value and solid financial benefits – particularly if leased out between company missions.
    Best of all- the mid-size category offers operators more variety- and more model options than any other segment. With so many options any operator should be able to find a perfect fit among all these choices. So this month we’ll update what’s hot in the medium jet market.

What Defines ‘Medium’?
The Medium category covers business aircraft weighing more than 20-000 pounds but no more than 40-000 pounds- at their Maximum Gross Take-Off Weight (MGTOW). Between those limits of 10 and 20 ton exist a lot of permutations in proportions- construction materials and- of course- cabin volume.
    We smudge those limits slightly (as we noted last month in the Light Jets Round-Up) by keeping two aircraft in the lower category. One we kept in the light jets category because it didn’t breach the 20-000-pound limit by more than a few pounds; the other only breached that limit after an upgrade from a version originally included among the light jets. This month we have brought into the mid-size group one jet slightly over 40-000 pounds for the latter reason – it’s a follow-on that cleared the limit only because of upgrades to its capabilities- not due to it being bigger.
    Regardless- in the loosest terms- you know you’re in a mid-size jet if you’re about 5 feet 9 inches tall and you don’t have to stoop- bend or duck-walk upon entering the main cabin. Or when you relax in the club-seating section and your legs remain untangled from those of your nearest seated neighbor. Or when you cross the continent in one direction in the morning- sit through four hours of business meeting and fly back that same day – arriving back home before the dinner dishes are clean.
    Bigger capabilities come inherently with the bigger cabins and higher operating weights. We’ve a lot of ground to cover – time to get to it.

Learjet 45XR
While genetically identical to the light Learjet 40XR- the Learjet 45XR sports a longer fuselage and larger cabin volume as its main difference. And for what might have been a light jet under other circumstances- the stand-up cabin of the 45XR gives it that airy feel of space that comes with larger aircraft.
    You could almost call the 45XR a 'super light' – but that’s cutting the cake a little too thinly for most in the community- so it fits (barely) into the mids.
The Learjet 45XR shares so many traits long identified with the brand name. For example- it offers a service ceiling of 51-000 feet – a standard for Learjets. The aircraft also boasts a cruise speed of 450 knots and a maximum range of nearly 1-900 nautical miles- which is pretty fast and frugal- given that it needs only 4-700 pounds of fuel to make that leg. Capable of operating from strips of 5-000 feet- the Learjet 45XR offers plenty of utility for businesses needing to hit out-of-the-way destinations.
    For the folks in the front office- the 45XR business jets for sale offers top-of-the-stack tools to match the jet’s considerable capabilities. Bombardier tapped Honeywell for its Primus 1000 avionics system as the panel standard on the 45XR. The Primus 1000 employs four 8x7-inch screens on which the Electronic Flight Instrument System (EFIS) and Engine Instrumentation and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) data display to provide the crew with unparalleled levels of systems management.
    EICAS integrates that plethora of electromechanical instruments once needed to track important engine information; EFIS portrays vital flight- air and navigation data on an uncluttered- color display that simplifies cockpit scans and reduces crew workload.
What a value the Learjet 45XR proves to be as a medium jet. It could be yours for about $11 million- well equipped.

Learjet 60XR
For everything that makes the Learjet 45XR a great entry-level medium jet- you get even more with the newest Learjet variant- the 60XR. With a top range of 2-451 nautical miles and a smoking Mach 0.81 cruise speed- the 60XR delivers a wider- longer cabin with the same great headroom as its sibling.
    Bombardier tapped Rockwell Collins’ advanced Pro Line 21 integrated avionics suite for the 60XR- with integral Integrated Avionics Processing System (IAPS)- dual Mode-S transponders and EFIS. From flight management to flight control- communications to navigation- systems monitoring to systems management- the 60XR’s avionics suite provides the crew with all the tools needed to safely manage the long legs available in this jet.
    Runway requirements exceed those of the 45XR by only 450 feet at 5-450 feet on a sea-level- standard-day- gross-weight departure.
    The two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW305A engines make 4-600 pounds of thrust – and still make the 60XR economical for its size. The 60XR needs less than 7-000 pounds of fuel to cover maximum-range legs. The price for this utility and comfort comes in at about $13 million- very well equipped – another value offering from the Learjet family.

Challenger 300
As if two top performers weren’t enough- Bombardier also offers one mid-class selection in its highly successful Challenger family – the Challenger 300.
    Indeed- this jet really pushes up the size aspect like only the Challenger series can. For example- the 300 sports a cabin cross-section of 6.1 feet tall and 7.2 feet wide.
But the Challenger 300 is about more than mere size. Flying on the 6-826 pounds of thrust from its Honeywell HTF 7000 engines- the 300 can operate from fields as short as 4-720 feet- cover more than 3-100 nautical miles- and make that leg at a fast Mach 0.80.
    Again- Bombardier tapped Rockwell Collins for its Pro Line 21 system to give Challenger 300 crews the maximum in capabilities. And once again- value is the aim – an aim well targeted at the $19 million price tag. 
More information from www.aero.bombardier.com

Citation Sovereign
When Cessna launches an all-new model- competitors start looking over their shoulders to make sure the bull’s eye isn’t on their tail feathers – and no model better represents Cessna’s approach than the company’s newest mid-size model- the Citation Sovereign business jets for sale.
    To explain; the Sovereign needs just over 3-600 feet of runway for departures- and in flight- the Sovereign cruises at 458 knots. It can cover more than 2-800 nautical miles carrying four- a crew of two and luggage thanks in part to the efficiency of its two PW306C powerplants- each making 5-770 pounds of thrust. These engines even contribute to the Sovereign’s low operating costs thanks to their frugal fuel burn and a 6-000-hour (inspection interval) TBO.
    The technological strength of the Sovereign continues up in the front office- where the crew enjoys the integrated advantages of Honeywell’s Primus Epic avionics suite featuring four full-color 8x10-inch color displays.
    And passengers enjoy what Cessna calls 'the largest double-club' seating configuration of any jet in the Sovereign’s class- thanks to a cabin that runs 25.3 feet long- 5.7 feet tall and 5.5 feet wide. At just over $15 million- the Sovereign also delivers truly outstanding value.

Citation X
The leader of the Citation pack - the Citation X business jet for sale - still wears the crown reserved for the world’s fastest business jet after nearly 10 years in production. At Mach 0.92- the Citation X for sale offers the distinct ability to carry its passengers across the continent for a mid-day meeting – Los Angeles to New York in less than four hours – and back again in time for dinner on the West Coast.
    Yet speed isn’t the only strength of the Citation X. For example- the model offers considerable runway flexibility with its need for only 5-140 feet for take off. At full fuel- (and with a full load of people)- the Citation X for sale can cover nearly 3-100 nautical miles- making for easy trans-Atlantic crossings – in either direction. And the two Rolls-Royce AE3007C1 powerplants contribute as much as 6-764 pounds of thrust to the effort.
    In the back- the 5.7 feet high- 5.5 feet wide and 23.9 feet long main cabin offers comfort and quiet. Up front- the five-screen Honeywell Primus 2000 package and separate synthetic-vision system provide the crew with the maximum in situational awareness and systems management.
    As is typical for Citation jet fpr sale- the Citation X for sale also serves up solid value at a well-equipped price of $20 million. 

More information from www.cessna.com

Falcon 50 EX
The 50EX represents the latest incarnation of Dassault’s original triple-engine business jet- and more than two decades later the 50 series models remain popular among those for whom transoceanic crossings are regular fare. Comfort is top notch with the cabin stretching a full 24 feet in length- more than six feet wide and only an inch short of six feet tall.
    Those three TFE731-40 engines and their 3-700 pounds of thrust give the 50EX the oomph to cruise at a speedy 481 knots on legs as long as 3-350 nautical miles carrying four and their luggage- while burning less than 14-000 pounds of fuel. The power of those three Honeywell engines and the efficiency of the wing allow the 50EX to operate from fields as short as 4-900 feet at gross weight.
    For the crew- Dassault tapped Rockwell Collins for the Pro Line 4 avionics suite with four 7.25-inch-square primary displays and three Sextant Engine Instrument Electronic Displays to provide systems management awareness. This level of space- utility- speed and redundancy come together for a well-equipped price of about $21 million.

Falcon 2000 DX
Short-strip utility- wide-body comfort and efficient operating costs stand as the top points that appeal to operators of Dassault’s 2000DX twinjet.
    Capable of covering more than 3-200 nautical miles from 5-300-foot runways at speeds of up to 482 knots- the 2000DX bows only to its stablemate- the 2000EX in terms of long-distance capabilities. The two P&WC 308C engines make a full 7-000 pounds of thrust with top-notch fuel efficiency.
    The crew gets to work with the new fully integrated Dassault EASy EFIS cockpit- a joint development with Honeywell- while passengers can enjoy a 26-foot long cabin that spans a full 7.7 feet in width and stands 6.2 feet high- dimensions more in common with large-category business jets. The price of this level of proficiency and utility: about $25 million.

Falcon 2000EX
Up the gross weight a bit more than 1-000 pounds- improve the airframe of the 2000DX and you have the Falcon 2000EX business jets for sale- a 3-800-nautical mile upgrade from the 2000DX that differs very little from the shorter-range model.
    Using the same engines- flight deck and systems- the 2000EX can carry its charges nearly 20 percent farther with the only penalty a 285-foot increase in balanced field length requirements. The price for this extended-range capability comes in at about $27 million. 

More information from www.dassaultfalcon.com

The smallest Gulfstream started life as the Gulfstream G100 aircraft for sale developed by Gulfstream and Israeli Aircraft Industries before an aggressive upgrade program turned the jet into the G150 – but it’s a change worth examining.
    A solid cruiser- the G150 can turn in a speedy 470 knots- operate from runways as short as 5-000 feet- and cover more than 2-900 nautical miles between stops. Power for this performance comes from a pair of fuel-efficient Honeywell TFE741-40AR-200G engines producing 4-420 pounds of push each.
    The spacious cabin offers more than 17 feet in length- 5.75 feet height and 5.75 feet width - a comfortable environment for those longer legs.
    Rockwell Collins’ advanced Pro Line 21 flight deck has been custom configured for the G150 cockpit- with synthetic vision an available option. Certified last November just ahead of the 2005 NBAA convention- the G150 offers performance and comfort at a value price of $13.5 million.

Gulfstream G200 aircraft for sale
Bigger- faster and longer legged than its G150 hangar-mate- the G200 is the second mid-size representative from the Savannah-based planemaker – and it’s every bit as much a value.
    Capable of cruising at Mach 0.85 across distances of 3-400 nautical miles- the Gulfstream G200 business jets for sale also offers a 24.4-foot long cabin that spans 7.2 feet and stands a hat-topping 6.3 feet high.
    The two P&WC PW306A engines’ 6-040 pounds of thrust give the G200 the power needed to operate from runways as short as 6-000 feet on those maximum-range trips.  
    A five-screen integrated EFIS flight deck provides the crew with the latest tools for managing the aircraft- its systems and its missions- while the expansive cabin is available in a number of configurations designed to match your needs. The entry fee for the G200’s level of speed- comfort and utility comes in under $22 million. 
More information from www.gulfstream.com

Hawker Beechcraft 850XP

Combine the latest avionics- new aerodynamic touches- modern power and a proven airframe and you’ll likely come up with something close to the new Hawker 850XP- the latest value upgrade from Raytheon Aircraft.
    Powered by a pair of Honeywell TFE731-5BR engines making 4-660 pounds of thrust each- the 850XP can deliver outstanding range- speed and runway performance. Runway requirements stand equal with other models of its class- at about 5-000 ft Balanced Field Length.
    And with the 850XP’s new winglets- fuel efficiency is improved to give this follow-on to the 800XP a range of nearly 2-700 nautical miles carrying four- a crew of two and luggage for all. And the Hawker Beechcraft 850XP can make these flights at speeds as high as 448 knots – not top of the class- for sure- but plenty respectable for the size and comfort of the latest Hawker business jets for sale.
     At 21.3 feet long- the 850XP’s cabin offers expansive space for a variety of interior configurations. Standing 5.7 feet high and spanning 6 feet in width- the 850XP is designed to enhance the comfort of those working or relaxing in the main cabin.
    The Rockwell Collins ProLine 21 integrated aircraft avionics system provides the crew with state-of-the-art tools for managing and monitoring every aspect of a flight and the aircraft’s health. Still- Raytheon’s improvements to the old 800XP didn’t send the price toward the service ceiling- with the Hawker Beechcraft 850XP coming in comfortably under $14 million.

Hawker 4000 Jets for sale
This should be the year that the long awaited Hawker 4000 finally makes its debut with customers- pending some flexibility from the FAA. A full decade in the making- the 4000’s type certificate application was filed more than five years ago- setting up some special issues to deal with due to a five-year time limit on certification efforts.
    With its preliminary certification long past- the 4000 – originally called the Hawker Horizon – should be through the approval process by year’s end… barring any hitches with the FAA. And what a plane the customers will be getting.
    The composite fuselage provides a back cabin space that stretches a full 25 feet in length; the 6.5-foot width and 6-foot height- though- are where the advantages of the composite construction come most into play- giving the 4000 several inches of space it would lack if built of metal.
    A pair of P&WC 308A engines provide 6-800 pounds of thrust each- power enough to let the 4000 operate from runways as short as 4-500 feet. In cruise- the 4000 can cover more than 3-300 nautical miles at speeds as high as 470 knots- or Mach 0.80.
    Up front Raytheon was one of the first to tap Honeywell’s cutting-edge Primus EPIC integrated avionics suite- complete with cursor-control devices for direct input to control aircraft systems from navigation to communication- power to environmental controls.
Despite the advanced systems- design and construction of the 4000- Raytheon managed to keep the price of the biggest Hawker just under $20 million. 

More information from www.raytheonaircraft.com

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