FLIGHTCHECK

Hawker 4000: $21 mil, Mach .84, FL450, 3280 nm, 8–10 seats

Recently certified with deliveries accumulating, 4000 boasts Primus Epic, 2 PW308As, 1600-lb payload with full fuel.

By Clay Lacy
ATP/CFII/Helo. Gulfstream II/III/IV,
Learjet and Citation series, HS125 and other assorted type ratings


World’s first composite supermidsize business jet makes its debut and joins the most popular segment of the GA market.

I‘ve always believed that good things are worth waiting for and this is certainly true of Hawker Beechcraft’s recently certified Hawker 4000. Design work began on the Hawker 4000, then the Hawker Horizon, in 1993 and when it was officially announced at NBAA 1996 it was to be one of the first supermidsize business jets at planned certification in 2001.

Well, things didn’t happen quite as quickly as anticipated and by the time the 4000 achieved full FAA certification in Jun 2008 the supermidsize category was already well established. While it’s unfortunate that the Hawker 4000 missed the biggest run up in GA sales in history they’ve sure brought a lot to the table with a magnificent new market entry and the world’s first composite supermidsize jet.

I’ve been type certified in Hawkers for more than 35 years and I know many operators who absolutely love their Hawkers. Previous generation Hawker 700s, 800s and 800XPs did, however, have a number of limitations that most operators chose to overlook.

The 4000 is not an updated Hawker 850—it’s a new state-of-the-art offering external baggage, more range and newer systems. The all-new 39,500 lb MTOW Hawker 4000 does away with these limitations and gives operators a top-of-the-line supermidsize product with a wonderfully spacious cabin, full overwater capability standard and a compelling value proposition at DOCs (fuel at $4/gal) of $1830.

Hawker Beechcraft bills the 4000 as the most technologically advanced supermidsize market entry with its advanced composite fuselage and cutting edge avionics. With up to 3280 nm range at Mach 0.78, cruise speeds of up to Mach 0.84, 6000-ft cabin pressure at FL 450 and a flat-floor walk about cabin the Hawker 4000 gives passengers the comfort and capabilities of a large jet at a much lower acquisition and operating cost.

Competitors in the Hawker 4000 class include the Bombardier Challenger 300, Cessna Citation Sovereign, Embraer Legacy 600 and Gulfstream G200/G250. Hawker Beechcraft invited me to fly the Hawker 4000 recently at SMO (Santa Monica CA) and this was a most welcome invitation.

I’ve followed the program over the years and this was a perfect opportunity to get behind the horn yoke of the world’s newest Hawker and give it an airborne workout.

Roundtable

I arrived at Atlantic Aviation SMO to meet Hawker Beechcraft VP Domestic Hawker Sales Brad Stancil, Senior Demo Pilot Mark Mills and Production Test Pilot Chris Harrold.

The Hawker Beechcraft team had brought along complete product analysis documentation on the 4000 and we sat down to discuss the program. I’ve never met a more knowledgeable sales guy than Stancil—he knows the 4000 program inside and out—and both Mills and Harrold have extensive backgrounds in the industry and with Hawker Beechcraft.

Hawker Beechcraft Senior Demo Pilot Mark Mills, Lacy, Production Test Pilot Chris Harrold (standing) and VP Domestic Hawker Sales Brad Stancil discuss Hawker 4000 program specifics.

Mills has been flying Hawkers for 5 years and has logged over 140 hrs aboard the Hawker 4000 in the past year. Harrold joined Beechcraft as a flight test engineer and has been flying the product line for 15 years.

Hawker Beechcraft builds the fuselage and empennage, Honeywell provides the Epic avionics suite, Pratt & Whitney Canada furnishes the total propulsion system while Fuji Heavy Industries builds the totally integrated wing.

Raytheon Aircraft pioneered composite applications with the Beech Star­ship and the Premier I and the tech­nology is now mature. Composite fuselages are stronger and lighter than aluminum, feature 3 pieces vs the typical 10,000 parts and field reparability these days is easy and straightforward.

Stancil explained that Hawker Beechcraft has positioned the Hawker 4000 as the top value/performance proposition in the supermidsize class. Supermidsize is an expanding market segment and, in my opinion, the hottest future category in GA.

Efficiency is the name of the game with the goal being more aircraft for less money. As the economy recovers I believe more and more buyers will be deciding between large category aircraft and really good supermidsize alternatives.

The 25 ft long by 6 ft 5.5 in wide cabin of the Hawker 4000 offers a flat floor, uninterrupted headroom and the feel of a large jet. In terms of operating efficiency the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW­308A equipped 4000 burns about the same fuel as a smaller Hawker 900XP and not much more than a Learjet 25.

First hour fuel burn is about 2500 lbs dropping to 1800 lbs in first hour cruise. Full fuel payload is a generous 1600 lbs—about the same as a Gulfstream IV—so you can depart full fuel with 8 passengers plus bags. Intercontinental ops are manageable with the Hawker 4000.

Mills flew from LTN (Luton, London, England) to BGR (Bangor ME) at Mach 0.80 against headwinds in 6 hr 59 min landing with over 2000 lbs reserves. More recent flights have included a leg from CEG (Chester, England) to BGR with no headwinds, at 6 hr with more than 4000 lbs of reserves on landing, and a 3-week Asian sales tour operated with no mechanicals.

Stancil pointed out that 10 Hawker 4000s had been delivered as of Jun 2009. Customer base, so far, is a mixture of Fortune 200 companies and entrepreneurs.

Walkaround

Heading out to the ramp I was impressed with many features of the Hawker 4000. The all-new 28.5° sweep supercritical wing accommodates 14,600 lbs of fuel in 2 tanks and the wing features a heated leading edge with no leading edge devices, wing fences or vortilons.

Clay Lacy is particularly impressed with the pull-down fuel control panel as Mills explains features and capabilities.

Dual pitot systems are provided, left and right, with a 3rd pitot standby available. I was most impressed with the external fuel management consol which flips down on the right side aft. Good access is provided to Honeywell 36-150 APU and key systems through a rear under fuselage door and external baggage is easy to access and generous at 89 cu ft/900 lbs.

Entry stairs are nice and I found the interior of the 4000 even more comfortable than I’d expected—the cabin does not feel confined at all. Passengers will appreciate the spacious cabin, the well positioned windows, high quality interior finishing and generous head and shoulder room without having to track seats outward.

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