Like many Beechcraft products, Hawkers are built ruggedly—or “tank-like,” as operators might say. They were certified for grass and gravel runways long before the Pilatus PC–24 recently touted those capabilities. Hawkers use tried-and-true design features such as cable-actuated controls and a trim wheel. They also handle strong crosswinds well.
Hawker’s 800A arrived as a 1984 model utilizing the popular Honeywell (formerly Garrett) TFE-731 fanjets. At the time, there wasn’t much competition in what’s now known as the mid-size jet segment and Hawkers were quite popular. The 800A quickly earned a reputation for being a corporate jet with few compromises. “Fill the seats and tanks and go,” is an expression many pilots of the 800 could use. And except in hot or high-altitude situations, the airplane delivered on that promise.
The cabin is generously sized—6 feet wide and 5 feet 9 inches in height—which made the Lear 35 of the day seem like a toy. Cabin layouts vary but expect a club grouping and a side-facing divan setup. There is no external baggage compartment so everything has to come up the stairs and through the door. While your luggage is accessible, warm, and pressurized in the Hawker, many prefer the external bin for easy loading. If you’re willing to give up 1,500 pounds of fuel and about 500 nautical miles of range, you can opt for a 28-cubic-foot ventral baggage bin, known as a pannier.
Unique Hawker design features are lift dump and fluid deicing systems. Lift dump was utilized instead of thrust reversers on early Hawkers, and it kills lift by driving the flaps to 75 degrees at touchdown and popping spoilers on top of the wing. This puts weight on wheels, making braking effective just after touchdown. Thrust reverse is optional on the 800 and standard on the 800XP. Hawkers use TKS “weeping wing” deice rather than bleed air or boots. It’s effective but tank capacity limits time of use. It also can make a gooey mess on the airplane and hangar floor.
First-hour fuel burn is around 2,100 pounds, while second- and third-hour burns are 1,800 and 1,700 pounds, respectively. Maximum range with the 10,000-pound fuel system is 2,500 nm. One operator conservatively plans for 1,500 nm in his company’s pannier-equipped 800. Eastbound transcontinental flights are possible, but westbound flights would be a real stretch with typical winds.
Hawker pilots groan at the tedium of performance calculations. The flight manual is complicated, and pilots often utilize UltraNav computers to simplify the process. Nearly all takeoffs in the 800 are made with engine bleeds off to maximize available thrust. Landings also are often performed with bleeds off.
The 800XP emerged in 1995 with a thrust boost to 4,660 pounds per engine, 28,000-pound maximum takeoff weight, a bigger TKS tank, and drag reduction features. Climb rate is improved over the 800A. The 850XP added winglets for increased climb rate and range. With the winglets, the 850XP can make a westbound transcon 80 percent of the time. The XP also added Collins IFIS.
Hawkers do not handle hot/high situations well. One operator mentioned that departures from Aspen or Eagle, Colorado, are very challenging. He would often stop in nearby Colorado Springs for fuel before completing the trip east. He, too, sang the praises of the Hawker’s crosswind performance (demonstrated to 30 knots) and easy single-engine handling, thanks to its rudder-bias system.
Avionics in the 800A are dual Collins Pro Line. The 800XP uses EFIS and Pro Line 4 gear. Collins’ Pro Line 21 suite is used on serial number 567 and higher. Vref values a 1984 800A at $550,000 ranging up to $3.3 million for a 2009 850XP.