Beechcraft has secured US certification for the XPR upgrade package on its Hawker/Beechcraft 400 light business jet family, and says work on the first retrofit is under way with delivery planned later this year.

The approval comes six years after the US airframer launched the modification programme as a rival to Nextant Aerospace’s then 400XT.

Nextant's remanufactured -400 series – which has since been enhanced and renamed the 400XTi – was unveiled in 2007, featuring new engines, cockpit, winglets and interior. Since it entered service in late 2011, more than 60 of the Williams International FJ44-3AP-powered type have been delivered.

Beechcraft blames the 400XPR’s delay on the company’s financial problems in 2012 and its subsequent acquisition a year later by Textron. “With the integration of Beechcraft and Cessna [into Textron Aviation], 400XPR certification efforts were temporarily paused,” it says. “Since then we have dedicated additional time and resources to ensure we are bringing to market a programme that is ideally suited for this customer segment.”



The XPR modification features FJ44-4A-32 engines and company-designed winglets. This combination “offers a 33% increase in range [compared with the 400 series], along with improvements in runway and hot/high performance,” Beechcraft says.

It list the 400XPR as having a range of 1,970nm (3,650km) with four passengers departing a 5,000ft elevation airport at 30°C (86°F).

Optional upgrades as part of the XPR package include a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 flightdeck – which replaces the Pro Line 4 avionics of the legacy models – and exterior and interior refurbishments.

The XPR programme is targeted at owners and operators of three generations of the -400 family: the late-1980s Beechjet 400, the 400A, and the Hawker 400XP.

More than 700 units had been manufactured when the final XP rolled off Beechcraft’s Wichita production line in 2011; Flight Fleets Analyzer records a global in-service inventory of about 600 units.

While Beechcraft acknowledges the XTi’s prominence in this niche sector, it believes the XPR upgrade still has competitive advantages. “We offer the best – and the only factory approved – upgrade solution for Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP owners, significantly improving their aircraft’s performance, operating cost and resale value,” it says.

The first 400XPR is scheduled for completion and delivery in the fourth quarter.

Source: Flight International