Hawker Beechcraft has obtained its final type certification and production certificate from the US Federal Aviation Administration for its oft-delayed Hawker 4000 business jet. This latest milestone clears the way for its first delivery after 12 years of development.

According to Hawker Beechcraft, the first Hawker 4000 customer delivery of aircraft RC-7 is expected "soon".

The Hawker 4000 is the largest composite civil aircraft to be certificated by the FAA to date.

Hawker Beechcraft was granted initial type certification for the business jet in November 2006, but deliveries and full production was put on hold because of post-certification modifications, including a boost in the maximum take-off weight, an increase in maximum operating altitude and approval for flight into known icing conditions.

The most notable of the changes was the installation of additional lightning protection for the composite fuselage business jet, made at the insistence of the FAA.

The Hawker 4000 made its maiden flight 11 August 2001 in Wichita, Kansas. The aircraft, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308As, can carry up to 14 passengers, plus two crew members and has a maximum range of 6,100km (3,280nm) with eight passengers. Hawker Beechcraft has secured around 130 orders for the 4000 series aircraft, including the largest order in the manufacturer's history from NetJets for 50 aircraft in December 2005.

Source: Flight International