Bombardier Learjet 60XR and Dassault Falcon 200DX added to list of improved aircraft

Manufacturers announced a slew of new derivatives at last week’s National Business Aviation Association show as they rush to capitalise on a growing market and counter competition from new aircraft entering service.

Bombardier launched the mid-size Learjet 60XR as well as the Challenger 605 large business jet, both featuring new Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated flightdecks and redesigned cabins. Dassault introduced the Falcon 2000DX, a reduced-range version of the 2000EX large jet that will replace the basic 2000.

“The XR is the first major injection of modifications into the Learjet 60 since it flew in 1991,” says Brad Nolan, Learjet product planning manager. The Pro Line 21 flightdeck “addresses the perception of the aircraft being technologically old”, he adds. Competition in the mid-size sector is intensifying, with Raytheon introducing its winglet-equipped Hawker 850XP at the show.

Deliveries of the $13.8 million Hawker 850XP will begin in the first quarter of next year, and the winglets will be available for retrofit to 800XPs in the first quarter of 2007. First deliveries of the $12.9 million Learjet 60XR are planned for the first quarter of 2007, says Nolan. Collins is responsible for installation and certification of the new avionics, with first flight scheduled for the first quarter of next year, leading to certification in the third quarter.

Gulfstream turned up the pressure in the mid-size sector by gaining simultaneous Israeli and US certification of the $15 million G150 ahead of schedule on 7 November and beating its performance predictions with a 5,460km (2,950nm) range, up 460km, and 1,600m (5.250ft) take-off field length, down 200m. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the third quarter of next year.

Dassault will produce the Falcon 2000DX by taking 900kg (2,000lb) of fuel capacity out of the 2000EX. The DX will still offer 460km more range than today’s 2000, at 6,010km, plus the EASy integrated flightdeck and Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308 engines of the EX. First flight is planned for June 2007, leading to certification in the third quarter. Deliveries will switch to the DX at the end of 2007 with no increase in price over the basic 2000, says Olivier Villa, senior vice-president, civil programmes.

Keeping pace in the large-jet sector, Bombardier plans to begin deliveries of the Challenger 605 in mid-2007. At $26.7 million, price will be equivalent to a similarly equipped 604, says Scott White, Challenger product planning manager. Bombardier’s fractional-ownership subsidiary Flexjet has ordered 15 Challenger 605s, as well as 15 Learjet 60XRs.

In the super mid-size sector, Raytheon has renamed its Horizon the Hawker 4000 as it relaunches the aircraft in anticipation of long-delayed final certification in December. A slow production ramp-up is planned, with 11 of the $19 million aircraft to be delivered next year, 16 in 2007, 24 in 2008 and 30 a year from 2009 onwards, says Hawker president and general manager Brad Hatt.

Embaer has also changed the name of its super mid-size jet – slightly – to the Legacy 600, to align with the company’s new very-light and light jets, which have been named the Phenom 100 and 300. These aircraft, to enter service in mid-2008 and mid-2009, respectively, are the manufacturer’s first purpose-designed business jets.

Cessna, meanwhile, plans to begin deliveries of its upgraded, $8.1 million Citation Encore+ light jet, with new Pro Line 21 flightdeck and digitally controlled P&WC PW535B engines, in early 2007. But the company has no plans for a similar upgrade of the smaller Citation Bravo, says Roger Whyte, senior vice-president, sales and marketing.

Source: Flight International