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Hawker 400 rivals move forward at LABACE

Competing versions of the Hawker 400 upgraded with new engines, winglets and cockpit systems moved forward at LABACE, but the type's original manufacturer has fallen behind on certification testing of two major changes.

Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) on 14 August announced it has started the first retrofit installation of a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 cockpit system on a Hawker 400XPR ordered by a customer.

The Pro Line 21 system is the first of three upgrades certified by Hawker Beechcraft for the XPR model. Certification of the other two major retrofit items - the Williams International FJ44-4A-32 engines and winglets - are now delayed until the first quarter of 2013, says HBC president of the Americas Richard Emery.

First flight of an FJ44-powered Hawker 400 was completed on 7 May, only a few days after the company filed for bankruptcy protection. HBC has since signed an exclusivity agreement with China's Superior Aviation for the purchase of its commercial aircraft division, but the deal has not been finalised.

The certification delay means the first XPR model with all three options will not be certified until possibly late March.

In May, HBC officials bristled at claims by competitor Nextant that the first fully certified XPR would not be available for nearly a year. At the time, HBC insisted certification could be completed before October.

Meanwhile, Cleveland-based Nextant Aerospace has targeted Latin America as sales focus in 2013 for its rival Nextant 400XT, says Jay Heublein, vice-president of sales and marketing. The company flew the 400XT prototype to LABACE for the first time this year.

Since October, Nextant has delivered 16 400XTs, remanufactured with FJ44-3AP engines and the Pro Line 21 cockpit. The company also plans to complete certification of the 400XT's winglets later this year, then retrofit the item on the aircraft already delivered. The winglets are expected to reduce fuel burn by 2%, Heublein says.

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