December 2, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
With certification flights ready to begin, Hawker Beechcraft Chairman and CEO Bill Boisture told workers the market isn’t strong enough yet to welcome a new light jet, and placed the Hawker 200 on hold. It was scheduled to be certified by the end of 2012 and has flown 100 hours since March 2010.
The Hawker 200 is a rebranded form of the previously announced Premiere II composite-airframe jet. Ironically, the jet is aimed at mid-size and large companies that need to transition to a smaller aircraft to please cost-conscious boardrooms—due to the recession. That same downturn has now stopped development of this light jet
While companies were willing to go small, they still wanted the jet to be fast and cruise well above the oncoming jet stream for westbound flights, and the Hawker 200 offered that. It was proposed to go 450 knots true airspeed (473 knots maximum speed) at 43,000 to 45,000 feet, carrying three or four passengers more than 1,500 nautical miles. It can carry up to eight on shorter trips.
Larger jets and turboprops are enjoying signs of a stable market, and Boisture said, “…we are increasing our turboprop and jet aircraft production rates to meet market demand for 2012.”
For those reading economic tea leaves and looking to the Hawker 200 for guidance, the news is bad. “The light jet segment has been particularly hard hit. Most manufacturers have made difficult decisions and are hopeful for a timely recovery,” Boisture said. But he added, “Unfortunately, economists and third-party industry analysts agree the timing of that recovery remains uncertain.”
The breather in the program will allow Hawker Beechcraft engineers to consider new technology for the Hawker 200 that has evolved since the program began in 2008.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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