Joining the Jet Set
by Ed Stephens Jr.
Private Pilot magazine, February, 2005
"In inflation adjusted dollars," said Raburn, "the Eclipse costs less
than the Cessna 414 did when it was new." Now that’s food for thought. In
fact, the Eclipse is priced less than today’s fully-equipped Beech Baron.
With a pilot and three passengers, Eclipse projects an NBAA IFR range of
1,280 nautical miles. (NBAA sets very specific and stringent requirements
for calculating IFR range). Eclipse lists a 375 knot maximum cruise speed
and a Maximum Mach Number (Mmo) of .64 Mach, and the stall speed is listed
at just 67 knots. Talk about a wide envelope.
More numbers: The Eclipse will top out at 41,000 feet, has a max takeoff
weight of 5,640 pounds, and a useful load of 2,250 pounds. It offers up to
six seats, though five will probably be more typical, and lists takeoff and
landing distances of under 2,200 feet under ISA conditions. Huh, just 2,200
feet? Neat...but required runway distances have a lot of technical nuance in
the jet world, and there is more to these numbers than meets the casual eye.
The petite PW610F turbofan engines push out 900 pounds of thrust each,
and will be massaged by high-tech auto-throttles.
The Adams A700
As for Adam Aircraft, they’ve taken an interesting approach to matters
with composite offerings. Their pressurized A500 piston twin is a push-me
pull-you arrangement that looks like a slicked-up Skymaster on steroids. By
removing the recips and hanging two Williams FJ-33 turbofans on the back,
presto-chango, they’ve got the A700 jet with 1,200 pounds of thrust per
engine, hefting about 7,600 pounds of max takeoff weight, though this weight
hasn’t yet been officially finalized.
Company founder and CEO Rick Adam is also an experienced pilot, and,
incidentally, a West Point graduate. He’s expecting the FAA to certify the
A700 in mid-to-late 2005. The A700 will set you back $2.1 million, and gives
you six seats (plus an aft potty). With that twin-boom style tail, this is
one aircraft that won’t be mistaken for anything else on the ramp.
In May, 2004, Adam announced a $150 million order for its jets from a new
charter company, called POGO, formed by two well-known aviation names,
Donald Burr, founder of the legendary People Express discount carrier, and
Robert Crandall, former CEO of American Airlines. That’s quite a vote of
confidence in the A700.
Cessna Citation Mustang
Meanwhile, Cessna’s Jessica Myers (Manager, Media Relations), reports
that they’ve muscled in over 230 firm orders for their VLJ, the $2.395
million Citation Mustang. Citations comprise the largest share of the
business jet market, so they need no introduction to readers...or to
customers, which means that the Mustang’s success is already assured, or at
least as assured as anything can be in aviation.
Of those currently owning positions in Mustang deliveries, "The large
majority of the buyers are owner/pilots," said Myers.
Myers expects FAA certification in mid-2006 and the first delivery to
customers by the end of 2006. The Mustang is a six-seater, and is a
Pratt-powered by PW615 turbofans that crank out about 1,350 pounds of
thrust, though the final rated number may be a bit different. Cessna doesn’t
yet disclose a max takeoff weight, saying only that it will be "less than
the CJ1's" of 10,700 pounds. Whatever it is, it will probably wind up
defining the upper weight limit of VLJs in the common parlance.
(3.2 mb) >
2005 Ed Stephens Jr.