Corporate Jet Investor rounds up the status of all current in development business jets.
|Bombardier||Global 7000||21/10/2010||??||2018||2H 2018||30/07/2015|
|Cessna||Citation Latitude||10/10/2011||18/04/2014||05/06/2015||Q3 2015||29/06/2015|
Bombardier’s new long range aircraft, the Global 7000 and Global 8000, were both introduced in 2010 during happier times in Montreal. Since then the company has changed its ceo, “paused” the LearJet 85, and said that it is concentrating on its C Series commercial airliner.
But even though the company has had its woes, the market for the Global additions should be a lucrative one. The first generation Globals that morphed into the Global 5000 and Global 6000 have sold over 600 aircraft, so the future of Bombardier’s business aircraft should be safe.
For the LearJet 85 though, things aren’t so rosy. Having built and flown the first prototype, Bombardier decided in January 2015 that the market for the aircraft wasn’t really there after all. In the end, confirming what everybody had been speculating, the aircraft was put on ‘pause’.
Although Cessna has recently concentrated on ‘plussing’ aircraft by introducing minor upgrades to existing models, the company’s two new aircraft types have had mixed fortunes.
With the Citation Latitude, Cessna has an aircraft that have an aircraft that, on paper at least, has mid-range specs. But step inside, and your perception of the aircraft changes drastically. Cessna focused on the cabin of the Latitude. And as any aircraft salesperson will tell you – cabins sell aircraft.
When the Longitude was launched, many people had a double take, as the aircraft closely resembles the Citation Columbus that Cessna cancelled in 2009. Both were originally designed as the largest Citations to date. Both had a crucial component missing from Cessna’s line up – range.
The comparisons with the Columbus only got stronger in late 2014. Cessna’s parent company Textron Aviation told reporters at the NBAA show that they were going back to the drawing board for the Longitude, and rethinking several specs following feedback from potential customers. The company has since stated that since the FAA certification of the smaller Latitude was gained in June 2015, they have been able to move more designers and engineers onto the project.
Dassault’s top of the range aircraft have always been three engine business jets that were enjoyed by connoisseurs. That will soon change.
The Falcon 8X will take the crown as the king of the Dassault fleet when deliveries begin in 2016. Essentially a stretched Falcon 7X with an additional 500nm range, the Falcon 8Xs wings are strengthened version of the Falcon 7X wings that the aircraft is derived from. The 500nm extra range might not seem that significant, but on a transatlantic flight to Paris it could make the difference between flying straight to the final destination, rather than having to stop in the south of England for fuel.
The second new Dassault aircraft is arguably the more interesting, with Alireza Ittihadieh chairman of Freestream saying “If it comes in as promised it will be the rock star of business jets.”
The first product of Dassault’s mysterious sounding SMS project, the Falcon 5X broke from the SMS moniker and is a large, wide cabin twin jet. Dassault play up the size of the cabin well, noting that it is wider than the cabin of the Gulfstream G650.
The risk of the aircraft though is in the engines. The 5X will be the first application for the new Snecma Silvercrest engines that will also power the Citation Longitude. Although the engine has suffered some delays, with Snecma stating in March 2015 that certification of the engine has slipped from 2015 into 2016, the company says that this will not affect the certification program for the Dassault aircraft.
The Falcon 5X is an important aircraft, but it’s the work that’s gone into the fuselage that is far more important. Dassault, in tandem but completely separately from Gulfstream, have designed a fuselage that can be stretched, or shortened, depending on which aircraft that the company wants to launch. This makes the Falcon 5X the first member of the next generation family of Falcon business jets.
While the Falcon 5X can be shortened, the smart money is on Dassault stretching the fuselage, making an aircraft that can fly even further than the Falcon 8X.
Aside from the HondaJet, no other recent business jet has taken as long to come to market as the Legacy 450. The aircraft was first introduced during the 2007 NBAA as a concept called the MLJ (Medium Light Jet) But by the time the following years EBACE came around, not only had Embraer’s board given the go ahead for the aircraft, but the aircraft had been given a proper name. Rather than choosing to associate the 450 with the Phenom name, Embraer decided that the Legacy name would give the aircraft more prestige.
The company’s troubles with the Legacy 450 (and the Legacy 500 that the company was developing in tandem) started in 2011 when Embraer had problems with the software that controls the fly-by-wire technology that the company was working with for the first time. Blamed on Parker Aerospace, the issues would cause a one-year delay to both the Legacy 450 as well as the Legacy 500. This was followed up in April 2013 by a further delay, although Embraer wouldn’t give any specific details for the hold up.
The company did finally gain certification for the larger Legacy 500 in October 2014, and began delivering the aircraft soon afterwards. Embraer’s says that certification and deliveries of the Legacy 450 should follow 12 months after the Legacy 500.
Gulfstream rocked the world,
and spoiled the NBAA by making their announcement two weeks prior to the event, with the simultaneous introduction in October 2014 of both the G500 and G600. Not only was everybody shocked that the company managed to keep details of both aircraft under wraps for so long, but Gulfstream managed a double coup when the first G500 taxied into view at the press conference under its own power.
Just like Dassault, the important part of both new aircraft is the development of the fuselage, which will form the basis of Gulfstream’s future aircraft. Dubbed ‘P42’, Gulfstream first began talking about the development of the aircraft in 2010 when asked questions about the replacements for the G450 and G550. Documents surfaced on the internet earlier in 2014 suggesting that Gulfstream would eventually introduce three new aircraft, dubbed internally as P42A, P42B and P42C.
Although the G500 and G600 can be classed as evolutions of the G450 and G550, Gulfstream say that they will produce all four aircraft rather than using the models as straight replacements, the rationale being that Gulfstream want the market to decide if they should continue building the older generation aircraft.
The HondaJet holds the rather dubious honour of being the only aircraft on our list to have flown several years before the aircraft was actually announced. What’s often seen as the personal project of ceo Michimasa Fujino has so far been a 12 journey, and we’re yet to see the first aircraft delivered.
Despite the length of time it’s taken so far, it’s hard not be somewhat enchanted by the HondaJet. Firstly there’s the aforementioned back-story, but mostly it’s because of how the aircraft actually looks. Not since the VFW-614 regional airliner has there been an aircraft with its engines on top of its wings, but the HondaJet has exactly that. The cabin as well, for such a small aircraft, is deceptively large, creating the impression that the HondaJet is a far bigger aircraft than it actually is.
Fujino’s wait could soon be over though. The HondaJet received its provisional type certificate from the FAA at the end of March 2015, so in theory the full type certificate could be received shortly.
Ask anybody in aviation what the most exciting upcoming new business aircraft will be, and the chances are that the PC-24 will be high on many peoples lists. With the PC-24, Pilatus looked heavily at the different market segments, and the aircraft currently in them, then decided that what’s really missing, was a jet version of their 1,000+ selling PC-12 business and utility turboprop.
The PC-24 draws close comparisons with the Embraer Phenom 300, not least because of the look of the aircraft, but also because of similar specifications. But whereas the Phenom was designed as a straight business jet, the PC-24 matches its excellent short field performance and the ability to land on rough unpaved surfaces, with a large side cargo door. And that gives the PC-24 its main advantage, as currently there’s just no other aircraft out there like it.
That could soon be changing though. When Luxaviation purchased ExecuJet back in May 2015 the then chairman of ExecuJet Niall Olver left the company to focus on restarting the Grob SPn project. Olver was the CEO of Grob Aerospace when the company was forced to file for insolvency in 2008, but says that the programme has recently seen real interest from serious strategic investors. “These are the sort of backers the project would need and there is a gap for this aircraft even with the PC-24.” said Olver.