Category Archives: Aircraft Reviews

king air review

The fact that Beechcraft twin engine aircraft are named after royalty should surprise no one. These machines are solidly built and carry an air of sophistication and reliability about them.  In this King Air Review we’ll share why it is one of our favorite charter aircraft.

The King Air stands out as one of the most used corporate and personal travel aircraft in existence. It has been around since 1964, the year that the Beatles topped the American charts with “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” but much like Paul McCartney, it has aged well. It has also kept up with the times through frequent upgrades and improvements, while retaining its cutting edge technology and aesthetic appeal.

It is appropriate and logical that the King air was born out of the Queen Air – a piston engined corporate twin. It can also trace its lineage to the Twin Bonanza. Both of its forebears were unpressurized and powered by reciprocating engines. The King Air made the leap to the comfort of pressurized and turboprop powered flight.

For a short time in the mid-1960s, the King Air even served as Air Force One. It was used to fly President Johnson to and from his ranch in Texas.

It is a twin engined, turbo prop powered pressurized comfort barge that has more capability than many light jets but can almost match them in speed and altitude. You will likely never meet a King Air pilot who doesn’t love the aircraft and it is …

Embraer Legacy 600
Legacy 600 Review

The Embraer Legacy 600 is a super medium sized jet. It houses a big jet attitude with big jet performance in a medium jet body. Embraer decided after the huge success of their model 146 jetliner to branch out into the corporate jet market with a medium sized fully functional executive jet. They hit a home run at their first time up to bat in this market.

The Legacy 600, certified in 1999, is Embraer’s first attempt at designing and producing business jet, but you couldn’t tell by looking at it and flying it. The aircraft has been very successful and it continues to be manufactured today.

This aircraft competes on the upper end of the small to mid-sized range of business jets and is considered a “Super Midsize” aircraft. It has design features to compete with its rival the Canadair Challenger. It can compete with larger business jets in terms of payload comfort and safety.

Embraer has since launched an extensive lineup of business aircraft after its initial success with the Legacy 600, from the entry-level Phenom 100 to the Lineage 1000, a very-long-range business jet version of the company’s 100-seat E-190.

The Legacy 600 has the capability to be divided into three distinct cabins. This allows passengers to comfortably travel in different areas of the aircraft doing different things. Some might be interested in enjoying a meal while other passengers might be interested in sitting back to catch up on their reading while vegetating on …

gulfstream 550 review (1)
Gulfstream 550 Review

The Gulfstream 550 is a world traveling favorite of the charter and corporate flight department community.

There are more than 460 Gulfstream G550 business jets in service and the people who own and operate them say the aircraft is a top performer, a multipurpose mainstay offering solid dispatch reliability and backed by Gulfstream’s well-known product support.

The G550 has four main improvements over its ancestor the GV: improved takeoff performance, a slight improvement in range and fuel efficiency, a bigger cabin and the PlaneView ™ flight deck featuring Honeywell Primus Epic avionics.

A seventh pair of windows is added to the fuselage and the entry door is moved 2 ft. forward to increase usable cabin length and boost net cabin volume by 58 cu. ft. This adjustment was made possible because the G550 needs less room to store its more modern avionics.

First Rate Performance

Powered by two Rolls-Royce engines the Gulfstream G550 has a cruise range of 6,750 nautical miles. The G550 flies from Seoul to Los Angeles or New York to Cairo nonstop at Mach 0.80. London to Tokyo or to San Francisco can be done nonstop at Mach 0.85. This ability to fly nonstop more than 12 hours means less fuel stops, giving the 550 added efficiency and cost effectiveness.

The Rolls-Royce BR700-710 turbofans installed on the 550 produce 635 lb. more takeoff thrust than they did for the GV. Because of the aircraft’s relatively low wing loading, the thrust-to-weight ratio of the aircraft …

Cirrus SR22 Review
Cirrus SR22 Review

A comfortable and swift ride for the short-haul.

Corporate and air-taxi operators have changed their outlook somewhat during the past decade. Twin-engined aircraft used to be the norm for executive travel for these businesses, but with the advent of more reliable and safer single engine aircraft, the trend has gone toward products like the Cirrus SR22.

The SR22 has equal speed and payload carrying capacity with light twin engine aircraft and it has the advantage of less than half of the twin’s fuel costs while providing a comfortable ride for the passengers and providing the best in high-tech avionics and aircraft systems to the pilots.

The Company

Cirrus aircraft have been innovative since they introduced their first model; the VK-30 was introduced by Alan and Dale Klapmeier, in 1988. The first aircraft models offered by the company were kits and plans for the build-it-yourself pilot crowd. Factory produced aircraft soon followed and the newest aircraft manufacturer was soon on its way to success.

The company really got its start as an aircraft manufacturer in the year 2000 when it introduced the SR20 (single reciprocating) model. Cirrus aircraft has always been identified by the fact that each carries ballistic recovery systems (BRS) for a parachute save of the aircraft and its occupants should an emergency occur.

Later models of Cirrus aircraft came with additional safety equipment, including airbags and a single-button upset recovery button. Cirrus is also well known for the high quality of its all-electric instrumentation and …

pilatus-pc-12-review

Single Engine Economy with Jet Speeds

Single engine corporate and air taxi aircraft were unheard of thirty years ago. Engines were reliable, but not considered as powerful and dependable as today’s power plants. Airlines were not allowed to carry passengers across oceans with an aircraft that had less than three engines and most flew their international flight with four. It was a multi-engine world.

Single engine aircraft have come to the forefront of the air taxi and corporate travel world of today. A combination of increased safety, more speed and the fact that jet fuel is pushing seven dollars a gallon has led to the successful use of singles for high speed and economical travel.

The Pilatus PC-12 fits right into the same niche as more expensive to operate twin engine aircraft like the King Air and is actually bigger in size. The PC-12 is a true cabin class aircraft containing all the same amenities as multi-engine aircraft – including a lavatory, entertainment options that include a moving map for passengers and lots of leg and head room.

The PC-12 operates at the same altitudes to take advantage of overflying weather and getting up into the good tail winds as other turbine twins and cruises as the same speeds – for half the fuel burn and fuel cost.

Single Engine Safety — With the prop feathered, a PC-12 can glide 80 mi–about half an hour–from 30,000 ft.

It is true that a twin engine aircraft can fly you much further …

Hawker 4000 Review

The “super-midsize” category of aircraft seems to be more and more popular with charter flyers.  With features and cabins and performance previously only associated with the large-cabin jets, and at substantially lower costs, this is the category of choice for coast to coast, international and other mid-range charter flights.

The Hawker 4000 falls into the super-midsize category and impresses on so many levels.  Competing for market share with the Challenger 300 and popular Gulfstream 200, the Hawker 4000 has become known as the performance choice of the group.  From 2008 through 2010, it set no less than 5 world speed records in its category.  On a flight from London to Dubai, over 3056 nautical miles, it averaged a staggering average speed of 540.39 mph!  That’s average speed, by the way!  The 4000 can climb from sea level to 37000 feet altitude in just under 15 minutes.

How does the 4000 achieve such high performance?  Aside from the high-efficiency (and very quiet) Pratt & Whitney engines, performance comes from the advanced composite fuselage.  Composite materials, such as carbon fiber, are much lighter and stronger than traditional aluminum, and are becoming more and more common in aircraft construction.

The 4000 is not just a hot rod in class though.  The cabin impresses with a quiet, spacious place to do business, sleep, or unwind while en route to your next meeting or vacation.  The stand-up cabin offers seating for 8-10, depending on how configured, and has six feet of headroom.  A full galley, …

citation-cj2-2
Citation CJ2+ Review

The Cessna Citation family of aircraft has a well-known history and the models of the Citation Fleet are in large enough numbers for Cessna Aircraft to maintain a large world-wide presence with its service centers.

The large fleet also helps support a large pool for parts distribution, re-sales and information. Cessna Citation owners share their enthusiasm, civic mindedness and valuable information through their organization, Citation Jet Pilots:  http://www.citationjetpilots.com/

The CJ2+ is just that; a “plus” of power, cost effectiveness and style above the Cessna CJ2. This model of Citation was added to the Cessna line-up in 2005. As of autumn of 2012, over two hundred of them had been built.

The Cessna CJ2+ fits a very comfortable niche in the business travel world. It is large enough to give passengers a spacious feeling cabin, yet small enough to retain the efficiency expected in a small single-pilot corporate jet.

The CJ2+ has also proven to be a popular aircraft for the owner/pilot. Transition from less complex general aviation aircraft combined with Cessna’s trade-up programs make it an enticing goal for owners.

The ability for this aircraft to be operated single pilot adds a potential passenger seat and can help corporations keep crew costs low. Operators like the climb ability of this aircraft. Eight minutes from take off to flight level 450, (45,000 feet above sea level) and once at this lofty perch, the CJ2+ can keep up with its more expensive brother, the Cessna CJ3.

The avionics suite …

beechjet 400 review
Beech Jet 400 Review

The Beechjet 400 and 400a models pass almost unknown in an aviation world full of glamorous Gulfstreams, Challengers and Lear Jets, but it has been a steady, safe and efficient corporate and air taxi aircraft for over thirty years.

It has the performance and low cost profile to be a favorite of owners and operators and has the speed and comfort for passengers seeking a mid-sized, long-range jet powered ride to their business and vacation destinations.

The Hawker Beechjet is a twin-turbofan light business jet that evolved from the Mitsubishi MU–300 Diamond, which was certificated in November 1981. More than 90 Diamonds were manufactured in Japan and then assembled at Mitsubishi’s San Angelo, Texas, facility. Japan’s Mitsubishi is the same company that built the MU-2 turboprop and World War II’s Zero fighter. This historically long-lived company originally designed the Beech Jet 400 line of aircraft in 1977.

The new jet was designated the MU-300 and the initial plan for the aircraft was to reassemble it in Texas with the Mooney aircraft company.

Mooney went bankrupt and Mitsubishi made the decision to go it alone in producing the aircraft at its manufacturing plant in San Angelo, Texas, rebranding the aircraft the Diamond I and gaining FAA certification in 1981.

The airplane featured a flat floor and a squared oval fuselage that gave passengers more shoulder room and made the 305-cubic-foot cabin seem larger. It measures 4 feet, 9 inches tall; 4 feet, 11 inches wide; and 15 …

falcon 20 review
Dassault Falcon 20 Review

A blast from the past might be in your flying future

The Falcon 20 is a luxury private jet charter aircraft that offers more cabin room than other private passenger charter jets in its class. It has a long and successful history and with upgrades over the years is currently a popular business and charter aircraft with a bright a cost-effective future.

The advanced age of this aircraft compared to its newer competitors is actually an advantage. The Falcon 20 has a much lower acquisition cost than other jets but has much better flight performance. Passengers enjoy the ride in a Falcon with its roomy interior just as much or even more than its more modern, yet smallish and cramped competition in the charter and business aviation marketplace.

The Dassault Falcon 20 is a first-generation, twin-engine business jet that was developed in France in the early 1960s and remained in production until 1983. The all-metal, low-wing aircraft features rear-mounted engines; a swept, full-cantilever wing; cruciform tail and a retractable dual-wheel tricycle landing gear. This aircraft normally accommodates between eight and ten passengers, plus a crew of two.

This business jet was actually flown and evaluated by the “Lone Eagle” himself, Charles Lindbergh.  In 1963, Pan American’s founder Juan Trippe was looking for the ideal mid-size jet to buy for his new business aircraft venture.  He asked Charles Lindbergh to appraise a short list of candidate aircraft.

Lindbergh flew Dassault Aircraft’s Mystère 20 prototype and told Trippe, …

Falcon 50 Review

Falcon 50 Review

 

The three engined Falcon 50 is a long range aircraft which is based on the earlier twin-jet Mystère/Falcon 20 and 200 families. It is very popular with passengers, operators and pilots. This aircraft re-defined what a business aircraft was able to do and made very long range flights, including trans-oceanic flights, possible and economical.

The Dassault Falcon 50 was designed using the Falcon 20’s design and flowing lines for its basic form. The design requirements dictated that in order for the airplane to easily fly its over three thousand nautical mile range it would need to be a totally new aircraft from earlier models that incorporated quite a few new ideas, materials and craftsmanship. Although the appearance of a Falcon 50 looks much like its smaller, twin-engine siblings, under the skin, it is a totally different bird.

 

A brief history

The Falcon 50 was first certified in February 1979 in France and a month later in the United States. Production of the Falcon 50 ended in 1996. When it debuted, it was put in competition with the older Lockheed Jetstars with its four engines and other legacy airliners like the Boeing 707 that were expensive, but needed if business leaders wanted to cross oceans in a hurry.
Almost two decades after the Falcon 50 came the Falcon 50EX which made its first flight in 1996. The Falcon 50EX was outfitted with more efficient and powerful engines than the Falcon 50 that with other design enhancements …