Nextant Aerospace has announced the launch customer for its remanufactured Challenger 604, which it is preparing for US and European certification in June 2018.
The private US owner, named as Toby Neugebauer, will take delivery of the large-cabin business jet, dubbed the 604XT, shortly after certification, Nextant says.
The Cleveland, Ohio-based airframer – which is owned by US private investment firm Directional Aviation Capital – launched the 604XT in May following a three-year evaluation process. It joins the 400XTi – a remanufactured Hawker 400A/XP light business jet – and the G90XT – an upgrade of the Beechcraft King Air C90 twin-engined turboprop – in Nextant’s line-up.
The 604XT features a Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion integrated flightdeck – replacing the legacy model’s Pro Line 4 system – and a number of cabin enhancements.
Nextant executive vice-president Jay Heublein calls the Challenger 604 “a proven operating platform with an exceptional cabin that meets all our selection criteria for a remanufacturing programme.”
He says the programme’s introduction will coincide with new airspace regulations coming into force in 2020, such as ADS-B and FANS 1/A+.
The new avionics upgrade will feature a host of advantages over the original cockpit, including three large-format displays, touch-interactive maps with eyes-forward flight planning, synthetic vision, high-resolution topography and real-time onboard weather radar overlays.
“Nextant has solved the pending regulatory and obsolescence issues that were facing much of the original cockpit technology,” says Neugebauer. “By allowing me to access the latest in forward fit avionics technology, they have created a solution that offers an overwhelming value proposition, which in my mind is a no-brainer.”
Flight Fleets Analyzer records a global in-service fleet of 300 Challenger 604s, and Nextant is targeting a high take-up for its upgrade. “The entire programme has been extremely well received and we are expecting market penetration rates north of 75% relative to the total in-service fleet,” says Heublein. “This should make this one of the most successful remanufacturing programmes ever.”
Meanwhile. Nextant is hoping to secure certification in the fourth quarter for the digitally controlled single-lever power control system in the G90XT. The approval is the final hurdle in the remanufactured King Air’s certification campaign, and will allow Nextant to begin deliveries of the six-seat type shortly after.
Heublein says the company has secured several deposits for the aircraft and will begin a demonstration tour following the National Business Aviation Association convention and exhibition in October to drum up additional sales. Launched in 2013, in partnership with engine manufacturer GE Aviation, the XT features the latter's H75-100 turboprops, a Regent flightdeck based on the Garmin G1000 avionics suite, a digital pressurisation system, and a redesigned interior and cockpit.