New Midsize, Super-Midsize And Ultra-Long-Range Jets
October 15, 2018
Excessive paperwork demands from the FAA? Surely, that’s not possible. Yet it’s the reason, says Cessna, why the $27 million Longitude missed its first-half 2018 certification and initial deliveries target. It will be all handshakes and smiles soon, though—possibly, even, this week.
Flown in October 2016, and shown at that year’s NBAA Convention, still in primer, the prototype was soon joined by four more development aircraft. In May 2017 came the overseas debut at EBACE in Geneva, reminding Europeans that EASA certification is to follow a year after U.S. approval. By June 2017, Cessna had rolled out the first production airplane from Plant IV at Wichita.
External appearance and controls are typical Citation, except for fly-by-wire rudder and roll spoilers, fully automated autothrottles and Garmin G5000 avionics with synthetic vision as standard via the GHD 2100 head-up display. Imminent certification notwithstanding, the FAA is still mandating better protection of the wing center fuel tank after January 2020.
Two 7,600-lb.-thrust Honeywell HTF7700Ls bestow a cruising speed of 476 kt. and a range, with four passengers and the usual reserves, of 3,500 nm. Eight is the more normal passenger plan; 12 an absolute maximum; while Part 135 operations with nine will be permissible. Full-fuel payload is 1,600 lb.
Dassault Falcon 6X
Patience with the Silvercrest engine finally snapped on Dec. 13, when the Falcon 5X program was canceled. Losing little time, Dassault called a press conference on Feb. 28 to launch its replacement, the Falcon 6X. Taking some—but not all—faithful customers with it, the 6X will fly in 2021 and enter service the following year.
Not unexpected is the switch to a pair of 13,460-lb.-thrust PW812D turbofans that P&WC expects to be 15 EPNdB below Stage 4 noise limits. Much else is carried over from the 5X, not least the wing, most systems and “the tallest, widest cabin in business aviation,” 40 ft. 4 in. long, 6 ft. 6 in. high and 7 ft. 2 in. wide at the floor (8 ft. 6 in. maximum), not including cockpit and baggage. Three standard floor plans are offered, accommodating up to 14 passengers, while air conditioning is zoned into cockpit, galley, forward and aft cabin. Equivalent altitude is 3,900 ft. at FL 410, falling to a still comfortable 6,000 ft. at FL 510.
Flight crew get EASy III avionics, including RDR4000 weather radar and FalconEye HUD and EVS to Land. For the first time on a Falcon, flaperons are inserted between ailerons and flaps to improve lift/drag management, as well as visibility and comfort during steep approaches, like at London City. NBAA IFR ranges are 5,500 nm with eight passengers at Mach 0.80, or 5,100 nm at Mach 0.85. Price is $47 million—up $2 million on the 5X, but you do get a fuselage that is 20 in. longer.
And then there was one. With the G500 gaining its FAA certification on July 20, Gulfstream was left with only a few hurdles to jump before the longer, but otherwise similar, G600 followed suit. Latest estimates are later this year for the FAA document; 2019 for the first delivery to a customer.
Dec. 19, 2016, saw the initial G600 take to the Georgia skies, and by the end of August 2017, five were in the air, the last of them a fully outfitted example to verify the cabin equipment. Both types have a Gulfstream Symmetry flight deck, accommodate 19 passengers and have a cabin width of 8 ft. 6 in., but the G600 is 5 ft. longer and has four cabin zones, rather than three. P&WC PW815 turbofans provide the G600 with power for eight-passenger, Mach 0.85 flights spanning 6,200 nm. Mach 0.90 cruising is possible, with some loss of range. Typically equipped, $57.9 million is the average-equipped price.
At the May 2017 EBACE the Bombardier Challenger 604 was nominated as the next Nextant, following the Beechcraft 400 and King Air 90. The company offers a series of upgrades, starting with Pro Line Fusion avionics in cooperation with Rockwell Collins (for engineering). Work is undertaken at Nextant Constant Aviation authorized service facilities and at Bombardier service centers. Award of an STC for the upgrade was scheduled for June 2018 but has slipped a few months, into the fourth quarter. The introductory price up to August of this year was some $600,000, with the important proviso that customers supplied their own Challenger 604.
Cabin upgrades will come later, including a new management system and increased connectivity.
Bombardier Global 5500 and 6500
They were hiding in plain sight until the wraps were taken off the unsuspected flying testbed at Geneva’s EBACE on May 27: Two reinvigorated Globals, plus a new engine that Rolls-Royce had already certified on the quiet five months earlier. Bizav coup of the year; leading contender for the “decade” award.
The Pearl 15 engine, rated at 15,125 lb. (ISA +15C), is one reason for raising the 5000 and 6000 designations by 500 —and lowering the fuel burn by 13%. As might be expected from new technology, range with eight passengers at Mach 0.85 is upped some 500 nm, but that leaps by as much as 1,300 nm from a hot-and-high start point, to 5,700 and 6,600 nm, respectively. Same-size engine nacelles as the BR710 reduce the impact on certification and handling; a modified wing trailing edge nudges the limiting speed to Mach 0.90 from 0.88. New interiors, adopted from the Global 7500, also prompted the designation change, including Ka-band cabin connectivity, fiber-optic cabin management systems, Nuage seating and a repositioned (forward) galley with extra appliances.
First deliveries are planned before the end of 2019, although the “plain” 5000 and 6000 will continue in parallel production. Cost varies from $46 million for the 5500 to $56 million for the 6500.
Bombardier Global 8000
You haven’t missed anything. The Global 7000 became 7500 in May as a means of drawing attention to Bombardier’s under-promising when the program began. Transport Canada presented the 7500’s type certificate on Sept. 28, and first deliveries are imminent.
The move focuses attention on the 8000 (or, perhaps, 8500?), which appears to be languishing an unspecified interval behind its stablemate. They share a new, transonic wing and a couple of 16,500-lb.-thrust GE Passport 20 turbofans, and long-range cruise for both is at Mach 0.85, although 0.90 is attainable over shorter distances. The two bizjets have fuselages from the Global 6000/6500, with different stretches: 11 ft. 3 in. for the 17-seat 7500, and just 2 ft. 3 in. for the 13-seat 8000.
A slump in the Chinese business jet market might explain the recent lack of news concerning the Caiga CBJ800 Pegasus project. Meanwhile, a slump of market confidence in the ability of Safran-Snecma to persuade the Silvercrest turbofan to function satisfactorily is most definitely behind the absence of both the Dassault Falcon 5X and Cessna Hemisphere. The French have bounced straight back with a 6X, but while Cessna has suspended the Hemisphere, its public stance is “wait and see,” with the aircraft still promoted on its website and Safran promising an eventual fix. In the ultra-long-range jet sector, three or possibly four Bombardiers are the sum total of confirmed development projects. The Canadian company is either doing something very right or very wrong—or it could be that some of the other “usual suspects” are about to spring a surprise.