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MEDIUM JETS ROUND UP (2004)

Although the lines blur a bit between the largest light jets and the smallest medium jets the field of options available among the class of medium-class

Dave Higdon   |   1st September 2004
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Although the lines blur a bit between the largest light jets and the smallest medium jets the field of options available among the class of medium-class business jets for sale remains the broadest of all corporate aircraft segments.

Between 20-000 pounds and 40-000 pounds exist a selection of no fewer than 16 business jets for sale- ranging in price from just under $8 million to about three times higher at more than $23 million.

In capability the mid-weight corporate jet fleet consists of jets barely above the weight mark capable of seating six to eight – but for trips well below the 1-500-mile maximum range; at the opposite end- the jets can carry eight to nine and still cover 3-000 nautical or more.

Some medium jets for sale stand ready for corporate-shuttle duty- thanks to special offerings by the manufacturers- and others stand ready for adaptation – but tend to serve as stand-up-headroom corporate offices-in-the-sky with no compromises for mass transit service. All- however- require the commitment and resources needed by any corporate investment useable by crews of trained- dedicated professionals. Sure- the rare owner/pilot with the background and experience may be at home and travel on the flight deck – but not without a PIC-qualified partner in the opposite seat.

Whether the regular need serves the typical 350-500 nautical-mile mission or routine continental and oceanic crossings- the medium-weight class of business jets offers an efficient solution.

Mid-weight jets:
Size & weight limits defined
What’s in a name? In this case- the question would be better phrased- 'What’s in several names?' Since this business jet class seems to bear several different labels – mid-size- mid-weight- medium-category – it is sometimes hard to visualize the considerable breadth and depth that makes relations of jets separated by tens of thousands of pounds and multiples of millions of dollars.

Recent years during which manufacturers sought to sub-niche their products have further complicated the task of identifying the medium jets. However- in the end- the super-light remains a light – albeit a largish one – and a super medium jet remains a medium jet- even though its cabin volume may measure larger than other aircraft jets for sale of similar weight and price.

To help manage this gaggle of birds- we’ve set the lower weight limit at 20-000 pounds and the upper at 40-000 pounds at maximum take-off weight. We’ll examine those weighing above 40-000 pounds in a subsequent story. Meantime- regardless of price- speed- range or cabin size- what fits between the two weight bars fits here.

BOMBARDIER AEROSPACE
Learjet 40 business jets for sale
The newest- smallest and least-expensive Learjet business aircraft for sale to come out of the Wichita home-nest offers operators a shot at operating an original for a price more than $2 million below its next-closest neighbor.

A derivative of Bombardier Learjet’s groundbreaking model 45 – Learjet’s first all-new model since the model 23 of 1963 – the new Learjet 40 preserves all the major strengths and systems of the 45- but in a package about two feet shorter than the original model.

Although only about 150 pounds lighter at its maximum weights- the Learjet 40’s fuel capacity comes in almost 700 pounds lighter- resulting in a maximum-fuel range shorter by about 330 nautical miles. That still leaves the Learjet 40 with the ability to cover more than 1-500 nautical miles- though- with NBAA IFR reserves. At maximum payload- the Learjet 40’s maximum range of 1-115 nautical miles comes within 60nm of the larger Learjet 45.

At a cabin length of 17.7 feet- the Learjet 40 offers space for up to seven in the cabin- only two less than the Learjet 45 aircraft for sale.

Of course- the Learjet 40 retains the legendary performance standards worthy of the 'Learjet' name- including a cruise speed above Mach 0.8 and a service ceiling that only a few other civil jets ever see- FL510. Essentially- for the Learjet looks- handling- efficiency and performance- Bombardier gets about $7.8 million – arguably the best combination of speed and efficiency in the class.

Learjet 45 & 45XR
What a difference can come from a power upgrade and a landing gear beef-up to allow for more payload – the major changes made to create a higher-performing variant of Learjet’s 45- the Learjet 45XR business jets for sale.

The 45 and 45XR sport the same cabin and panel; and one type rating covers both (as well as the Learjet 40- but a change to Honeywell’s TFE731-20BR from the –20AR version improves the climb- high-altitude thrust and hot-and-high performance of the Learjet 45XR.

Coupling that powerplant improvement with a gross weight increase of 1-000 pounds – directly translatable into a 1-000-pound gain in full-fuel payload – gives the Learjet 45XR a blend of speed- range and efficiency virtually unmatched in its class. For example- the Learjet 45XR gives up only about 200 nautical miles to fly full fuel versus full payload- thanks to the airframe changes.

Likewise- the higher weight of the Learjet 45XR does detract a whole 80 nautical miles over the Learjet 45’s 1-885 nautical mile full-fuel range- but the 45XR picks up an edge of 9 knots at high-speed cruise- with 465 knots compared to the Learjet 45’s 456 knots. Either one is plenty fast – and both share in the same service ceiling; that high-flying FL510 that has been a Learjet staple for decades.

Runway requirements probably serve to most differentiate the performance of the Learjet 45 and 45XR. At gross- the Learjet 45 needs only 4-350ft for safe operations- while the 45XR- weighing 1-000 pounds more- needs a bit more time to accelerate to Vr – and an additional 700ft to do so.

With otherwise identical cabins and flight decks- common systems and avionics- many business aircraft buyers are likely to see the $600-000 price difference as small change for the extra capabilities of the Learjet 45XR over the $10.2 million Learjet 45.

Learjet 60
Not far in the past the Learjet 60 airplanes for sale stood at the threshold of the medium business jets category- but those days ended with the emergence of barely mediums like its Learjet siblings – and the arrival of the G100 from Gulfstream.

Evolved across several stages from the Learjet 23- the Learjet 60 retains its appeal thanks to an enviable combination of size- cost- efficiency and its legendary Learjet performance attributes.

Able to cruise in excess of 450 knots true- the Learjet 60 business jet for sale can run with the best in typical Learjet style. The Learjet standard service ceiling of FL510 provides operators with the option to go high- direct- and with little other traffic to watch. The ability to cover 2-400 nautical miles in a single leg puts virtually all of North America within reach of anywhere in North America – as well as making transatlantic crossings easy.

Climbs to FL370 take barely 13 minutes; a 1-000-mile flight needs less than 150 minutes; and non-refueled trips are a snap at distances as long as 750 nautical miles and more. For a jet still priced under $13 million- the Learjet 60 offers depth in value few other competitors can match.

Challenger 300
Few new business aircraft made the transition from developmental to market performer with less hassle than Bombardier’s all-new Challenger 300.

Last summer the Challenger 300 business jets for sale enjoyed a highly productive period- securing approvals from three airworthiness authorities in a short span – the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)- Canada’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Europe’s Joint Aviation Authority (JAA).

Deliveries started late last year- thanks to a rapid transition cycle from green to complete at Bombardier’s completion center in Tucson- Arizona. The ferry flight to the completion center of the first customer aircraft was legal a mere five days after the first production unit’s maiden flight in late July.

Production flight-testing proved equally trouble free- requiring but five flights- the longest a 5.5-hour flight.

This degree of efficiency and best-in-class value formed the root of Bombardier’s goals for the Challenger 300 when the new model was launched nearly five years back. The Challenger 300’s approval provides a cost-conscious step for light-jet operators ready to move up. It also offers a new mid-size alternative for existing medium jet operators facing limitations with their current business jet.

Among the benefits available from the Challenger 300: Exceptional short-field performance with a take-off requirement of 4-950ft and a landing distance of 2-610ft. By most business jet standards- these are great numbers- but for a medium jet they are outstanding.

Couple that great runway performance with a maximum speed of 541mph- (or Mach 0.82)- and a non-stop range of 3-100 nautical miles (with eight passengers)- and all in all- the Challenger 300 offers outstanding performance and flexibility. All this capability comes wrapped in a roomy cabin befitting the Challenger 300’s class designation – about 860 cubic feet of space in a cabin 6.1 feet high- 7.2 feet wide and 28.6 feet long.

Considerable credit for the Challenger 300’s speed and efficiency should go to the new Honeywell AS907 turbofans. With 6-501 pounds of thrust- the AS907s provide plenty of power to cross the U.S. in less than five hours. A Challenger 300 business jets for sale weighs in at around $17.8 million.

CESSNA AIRCRAFT
Citation XLS business jets for sale
Thanks to a cabin shape borrowed from the speedy Citation X aircraft for sale – but shorter – and a straight wing reminiscent of the original Model 500 Citation- the Citation Excel won adorers right out of the box- with a blend of size and performance that pushed the edge of the light-jet envelope in which it was rooted.

However- as the smallest Citation in the medium jet class- the updated XLS is a star performer at the lower end of the category. Priced at just over $10 million- the XLS provides a cabin 18.5 feet long- 5.7 feet tall and 5.5 feet wide.

With the best runway numbers of its class (a mere 3-560 feet needed for take off at gross) and cruise numbers just below the mean- the XLS offers operators a blend of comfort- speed and utility unique in its class.

Ability to carry a maximum payload and still cover nearly 1-200 nautical miles gives the XLS tremendous capability for operators in need of maximum flexibility. Credit for performance and efficiency belongs to the combination of an aerodynamically refined airframe and the two 3-991-pounds thrust P&WC PW545B engines that power the XLS. However- credit for creating the combination of pilot-friendly handling- runway and payload flexibility belongs solely to Cessna Aircraft Company.

Citation Sovereign
Now entering its second year in customer service- the innovative Citation Sovereign business jet aircraft for sale has helped to better cement Cessna as a supplier of medium jets for sale at a moderate price (about $13.3 million.)

With a cabin shaped like the Citation X and XLS- the Sovereign boasts the most room of the trio- thanks to a cabin that stretches more than 25ft in length – a full 16ins longer than the speedy Citation X business jets for sale.

While the cabin cross section is identical to the XLS and Citation X- the swept wing used is unique to the Sovereign. Indeed- the combination of a sleek wing- slippery fuselage- efficient interface and two 5-686-pound-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306C engines give the Sovereign excellent capabilities including cruise capabilities of more than 2-800 nautical miles; a top cruise speeds of almost 460 knots; and runway capabilities of around 4-000 feet.

With honest trans-continental ability- fuel efficiency and the latest in glass cockpit equipment- the well-equipped Sovereign is as competitive as any jet for sale in its class.

Citation X
As the Citation X pushes toward the end of its first decade in service- the distinctively sleek business airplane retains its mantle as the world’s fastest business jet aircraft for sale – and now that Concordes no longer ply the skies- the fastest civil aircraft in the sky.

With a top cruise speed of Mach 0.92 – more than 500nm an hour – and a range exceeding 3-500 nautical with full fuel- the Citation X remains unique in the fleet. Even with a maximum cabin payload- the speedy X can still scorch the sky for more than 2-700 nautical at speeds that allow a crew to cross the continent twice in a day and stay under recommended work-hour limits.

Until a day comes when a business jet can better its Mach 0.92 superiority- the Citation X remains the ultimate expression of the appeal of speed. Repeat buyers of the upgraded Citation X provide graphic testimony of the jet’s operator appeal – particularly thanks to the 2002 upgrade to payload (up 400 pounds) and engine power (up 5 percent).

Today’s Allison AE3007C1 engines produce a whopping 6-764 pounds of thrust- power enough to give the Citation X climb times of 18 minutes to FL370 where its speed means easily overtaking slower traffic.

Although the largest Citation- the Citation X falls into the middle of the medium-jet class with a cabin that measures 23.5 feet long- 5.7 feet high and 5.5 feet wide- customers- don’t seem to spend enough time in the cabin to feel any space envy- thanks to continental crossing speeds a full hour shorter than most competitors.

The combination of long range and high-speed make the Citation X an excellent choice for any operator facing frequent cross-continental or transatlantic legs. Best of all is the cost of entry to the Citation X’s performance realm that remains competitive at about $19 million.

DASSAULT
Falcon 50EX
Dassault continues its decades-long tradition of supplying some of the finest medium- and large-category corporate jets in the business – but it remains alone in the field as a supplier of business jets sporting more than two engines. The Falcon 50EX business jet aircraft for sale remains the signature incarnation of Dassault’s recognition that for some missions triple redundancy is the only way to fly- a trait of the 50 series throughout its long existence.

Today’s Falcon 50EX offers unfettered international-travel capabilities thanks to that triple-powerplant credential – three Honeywell TFE731-40 fanjets that make 3-700-pound-thrust each.

Carrying eight in the cabin and two flight-crew members up front- the Falcon 50EX easily manages missions exceeding 3-000 nautical miles- with Collins’ Pro Line EFIS helping the crew manage the workload.

The folks in the aft cabin receive treatment equal to that bestowed on the flight crew thanks to the Falcon 50EX’s roomy cabin. At 28 feet long- 5.8 feet tall and 6.1 feet wide- the Falcon 50EX business jets for sale can accommodate seating plans ranging from nine to 19. A huge degree of payload flexibility allows vast loading combinations- whether a full cabin for a medium-range trip or a six-to-eight-passenger crowd carrying all the luggage they need for trips to the edge of the Falcon 50EX’s range envelope.

Nothing else in the medium jet class quite matches the combination of comfort and performance offered by the Falcon 50EX- let alone with the redundancy- reliability- and sophistication at a price nudging $20.5 million.

Falcon 2000 business jets for sale
Dassault offers a twin-engine alternative to the Falcon 50EX with more cabin space and equal speed- range and comfort – all for just about $1.5 million more than the 50EX – in the exemplary Falcon 2000.

Not only can it handle seating for eight to 19 – with more room to spare – it can do so at nearly 480 knots. This added space comes from the Falcon 2000’s cabin- a space larger than the Falcon 50EX in all dimensions- at 31.2-foot-long – about three feet longer than the 50EX – as well as an extra 5 inches in height and 19 inches in width that makes the cabin an expansive 7.7 feet wide.

Thanks to the efficiency of the two 5-900-pound-thrust Honeywell CFE 738-1-1B engines- the 2000 can cover 3-000 nautical non-stop and access any airport with about a mile of runway. A Falcon 2000 jet for sale would cost about $23.1 million.

Falcon 2000EX
Stepping up the Dassault ladder one more rung brings us to the extraordinary Falcon 2000EX- sporting higher performance and more range than the company’s original wide-cabin Falcon 2000. Even though the 2000EX breaks our arbitrary 40-000-pound limit- keeping it in this grouping seemed the most sensible since the Falcon 2000 comes in at 36-000 pounds – and most of the weight difference exists solely in the fuel tanks. Since the two Falcon 2000s share cabin dimensions and the like- moving it up a class seemed wrong.

Yet there are plenty of differences that warrant the 'EX’ designation and make the model something singular. For example- the Falcon 2000EX sports a pair of new 7-000-pound thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308C engines- being the first airframe to capitalize on their greater power and fuel efficiency to produce legs up to 3-800 nautical miles at speeds of up to Mach 0.8. This combination of speed and reach comes partly from the higher fuel capacity of the 2000EX.

Developed specifically for the Falcon 2000EX- these engines work in combination with the new EASy cockpit to make the 2000EX a major contender in its class. Dassault’s own EASy cockpit system – originally developed for the Falcon 900EX that we profile next month – helps the flight crew stay on top of managing the aircraft and the flight.

For a jet singularly distinct in its blend of space and speed- you’ll spend about $24.8 million.

GULFSTREAM AEROSPACE
G100
At under $12 million the G100 continues to deliver the goods as one of the best values on the medium jet scene. A solid blend of range – a continental performer at 2-700 nautical miles – and 466 knots of true airspeed support the G100’s efficiency claims.

It’s slim lines belie a roomy cabin that underpins the G100’s medium-cabin claims- at more than 17 feet in length- 5.6 feet in height and 4.8 feet in width. With 367 cubic feet of space to work with- no one should feel cramped in cabin configurations for as many as nine.

It’s a blend of proven airframe and power – two 4-250-pound-thrust TFE731 powerplants from Honeywell – that may seem familiar with age- but that remains no less a value.

Best of all- the Gulfstream G100 business jet for sale continues to gain in value as a Gulfstream product. The latest example of the manufacturer’s attention to its smallest jet came in July when the company announced that it’s proprietary Enhanced Vision System (EVS) is now available on the G100. First FAA approved for installation in the fall of 2001- the EVS system subsequently won additional utility when the FAA approved the use of such equipment for use in instrument conditions as low as 100-foot ceilings.

Gulfstream G200 aircraft for sale
Now firmly ensconced as a Gulfstream business jet for sale- the G200 still stands on strengths developed for the Galaxy from which it has evolved. For example- the cabin stands as one of the largest available in a medium-category jet – particularly in height and width at 6.3 feet high and 7.2 feet wide. At 24.5 feet long- the G200’s cabin provides suite-style space in an eight-place cabin design and still more than ample space for seating configurations ranging up to 18.

In addition to its spacious cabin- another attraction of the G200 is its ability to cover more than 3-400 nautical carrying four in the cabin and a crew of two – plus luggage for all six.

A jet for sale at just under $21 million- the G200 also delivers among the best speed in its class- at a smoking Mach 0.85- and the ability to operate from runways as short as 6-000 feet. The combination of speed- range and runway performance come courtesy of the two 6-040-pounds-thrust P&WC PW306A engines employed on the G200.

RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT
Hawker 800XP business jet for sale
Still selling after all these years- the $13 million Hawker 800XP continues to flex muscles built on more than a decade of refinements – and a lineage dating back decades.

With a cabin that measures more than 21 feet long- 6 feet wide and 5.7 feet high- the 800XP provides space enough for cabin configurations of eight to fifteen seats – a marked improvement Raytheon engineers eked out of the original 800 without changing the exterior.

Leaving the original external lines intact allows the two 4-660-pound-thrust Honeywell TFE731-5BR powerplants to still efficiently produce a cruise speed of nearly 450 knots. Not only can the 800XP fly a 1-000-nautical leg in just 2.5 hours- it can start that trip from runways as short as 5-088 feet at its 28-800-pound maximum take-off weight and still cover 3-400 nautical miles non-stop with four in the back.

COMING DEVELOPMENTS
GULFSTREAM G150
First unveiled at the 2002 NBAA convention in Orlando- the G150 is destined to ultimately replace the G100 – on which the newer model is based – when it makes its maiden flight next year. Nevertheless- many of the good parts of the original will remain.

For example- the G150 employs the wing of the G100- while using the G100 fuselage as a foundation before expanding it 2 inches in height and a foot in width to yield a generous 465 cubic feet of cabin space – a volume increase of more than 25 percent.

Next up are an expansion in fuel capacity- a small increase in engine power from the Honeywell TFE 731-40R engines to 4-400 pounds of thrust- and a commensurate increase in operating weights. The resulting G150 will fly a wider variety of payloads on longer flights compared to the G100.

The G150 speeds along at a top cruise of Mach 0.85; at normal cruise speed of Mach 0.80 (459 knots true)- the jet delivers a maximum range of 2-700 nautical miles – all while carrying four passengers- a crew of two and NBAA IFR fuel margins.

Gulfstream initially expected to bring the G150 to fruition in 2005 and initial double-digit orders supported that confidence- but a variety of factors convinced the company to slow development somewhat. Certification of this $13.5 million newcomer is now expected in early 2006.

RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT
Hawker Horizon
The fourth and final Hawker Horizon prototype – the Function & Reliability Test Bed – entered the flight phase a few months back. More recently- in May- the second prototype completed the required cold weather tests in Canada. Taken together- these milestones serve as graphic notice of continued progress by Raytheon Aircraft to certificate the newest Hawker business jets for sale and start customer deliveries. Now more than three years behind its original timetable- 2004 is looking more like the year with every week – maybe a news item at NBAA in Las Vegas next month?

No doubt- plenty of long-patient customers are anxious to get their hands on the most-advanced medium jet on the market. Those customers are more than ready to benefit from the many advantages designed into the first of the so-called super mid-size jets launched into development. Among those advantages- a composite-fuselage- metal-wing construction unique in its class – and second only to the Beechcraft Premier I light jet built using the same technologies and methods.

The composite fuselage gives the Hawker Horizon more interior space than it would in metal – a cylindrical cabin stretching 25 feet in length and 6 feet tall and wide. The composite fuselage also contributes greatly to the Horizon’s relatively light operating empty weight- in turn helping improve payload and fuel performance.

For example- the Horizon offers intercontinental performance and high speed without compromises in payload. With a maximum range of about 3-500 nautical – and at a smoking Mach 0.84- no less – the Horizon offers both transcontinental and transoceanic capabilities.

Working with the airframe to produce this combination of range- speed and efficiency are a pair of P&WC PW308A engines making 6-825 pounds of thrust each. For under $18.5 million- the Horizon should be popular for many years to come.

AVCRAFT
Envoy 3
AvCraft’s purchase last year of the Envoy 3 put the Virginia-based company in position to join the competitive realm of business jet suppliers through its acquisition of the production of this variant on the Do328JET airliner and regional aircraft for sale. Expect many business operators to embrace the benefits of this design – effectively a large-cabin jet in mid-size stripes.

The Envoy 3 shares much of its basic airframe with the 328 propjet- including a main cabin that measures 34 feet long- 6.2 feet high and a 7.2 feet wide.

The Envoy also enjoys an efficient 400-knot high-speed cruise setting- along with relatively short runway requirements at a mere 4-250 feet for takeoff. This balance of performance parameters is made possible by the two P&WC PW306B engines making 6-050 pounds of thrust each.

The Envoy 3 is also available in a corporate shuttle variation priced at about $14.5 million. With a cabin configurable for seating 18 to 32 – with fuel capacity for a maximum range of about 1-300 miles – the Shuttle version should appeal to any operator with a high demand for moving people across large distances.

However- the business jet executive-cabin configuration should be the most in-demand- thanks to its large cabin and the office space still available when fitted to seat eight to 12 passengers. Priced at around $15 million- this version of the Envoy provides a top speed of 400 knots and a maximum range of about 2-500 nautical miles.

More information from:
Avcraft; www.avcraft.com
Bombardier Aerospace; www.aero.bombardier.com
Cessna Aircraft; www.cessna.com
Dassault; www.falconjet.com
Gulfstream Aerospace; www.gulfstream.com
Raytheon Aircraft; www.raytheonaircraft.com


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