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The Top 10 Business Jets

by Lydia Wiff 15. January 2017 08:00
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It’s hard to believe that just over 100 years ago, flying was just a pipe dream.  We’ve come a long way and now aviation has a part to play in many industries and has become its own segment of the aerospace industry.  “Business aviation” refers to any aircraft that are used in furtherance of a business.  According to the National Business Aviation Association, business aviation contributes approximately $150 billion to economic output and employs at least 1.2 million people (NBAA.org).  While only about 3% of the 15,000 registered business aircraft are flown by Fortune 500 companies, the rest belong to varying sizes of for-profit and not-for-profit companies all over the United States – this includes universities, local and federal government, and other businesses. 

Arguably, the future of aviation is business aviation and Globalair.com has their top ten picks for business aircraft backed up by several years of experience in aircraft sales. 

#10: Gulfstream 550 (G550)

If there is one company that evokes luxury in their aircraft, Gulfstream Aerospace has to be it.  The sleek frame of the G550 cuts through the air at 0.80 Mach using two Rolls-Royce BR710 engines with a max cruising altitude at 51,000 feet.  This luxury jet can be configured up to 19 passengers and sleeps 8 comfortably.  If you’re looking to escape the cares of everyday life easily, or reach your international group in England, the G550 has a range of almost 7,000 nautical miles (nm).

While it boasts a comfortable ride for passengers (a cabin over 40 feet long), pilots aren’t soon forgotten with the state of the art PlaneView™ flight deck featuring some of the most advanced avionics known in existence.  The flight deck features four liquid crystal displays for your flight crew with easy software upgrades making it compatible to your flight department, no matter how big or small.  Additionally, a Head-Up Display (HUD) is included in the G550 that projects flight data in the pilot’s forward-looking field of vision.  In times of reduced or obscured vision, such as inclement weather, the Enhanced Vision System (EVS) uses infrared technology to capture what the pilot cannot see – runway markings, taxiways, and other terrain are now visible in poor weather conditions.

According to the NBAA, the G550 has the reliability of 99.9% -- this means out of five years of service, you will only miss one trip (Gulfstream.com).  In a world where time equals money, this is a statistic to get behind.

#9: Gulfstream 200 (G200)

The little brother to the G550, the G200 had its first flight on Christmas Day in 1997 and was later released in 1999.  While Gulfstream no longer produces the G200, it doesn’t keep it from being a popular used aircraft.  It was originally named the “Astra Galaxy”.

Like most Gulfstream aircraft, the G200 boasts a large cabin size that can hold to 18 passengers, but typically configured for 8-10 passengers.  Unlike the Rolls-Royce engines, the G200 runs on two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306A turbofans producing a maximum cruise spend at 0.80 Mach, similar to the G550.  While it has approximately the same cruising speed, the G200 has almost half the range at 3,400 nm at 45,000 feet which makes it a perfect aircraft for domestic flights here in the U.S.

From this description, the G200 can be seen not only as a predecessor to the G550, but the smaller, less expensive version of the G550.  The G200 is an excellent aircraft for a business that does mostly domestic flights.

#8: Hawker 4000

Taking a break from the Gulfstream family, the Hawker 4000 hails from Beechcraft which is owned by Textron Aviation – the parent company to Cessna and others.  Produced from 2011 to 2013, the Hawker 4000 was quickly realized as the top jet product by Beechcraft.

A worthy competitor to the G200 as well as slightly newer, it can seat up to ten people (14 maximum) and has average of 6 feet of standing room in the interior cabin.  It cruises at 45,000 feet with a range of 3,445 nm and 870 km/hr.  A common identifier of the Hawker 4000 is the hawk profile painted in tan on the tail section.

If you’re currently in the G200 as an airframe, a newer and comparable version would be the Hawker 4000.

#7: Hawker 800XPi

A predecessor to the Hawker 400 is the Hawker 800 which was first produced in the early 1980s.  A later version of the Hawker 800 was the XP and XPi which was most notable by the addition of winglets.

Like the previously mentioned aircraft, the 800XPi is similar in size when it comes to passenger capacity and length.  The maximum speed in cruise is 745 km/hr while its range is the shortest out of the group at just under 2,000 nm and has a service ceiling at 41,000 feet.  However, it’s rate of climb is nothing to sneeze at – 1,948.8 feet/minute!

#6: Citation Sovereign

We now switch gears back to the Textron company to that of Cessna and the Citation Sovereign.  This particular aircraft is classified as a mid-size business jet and at the time of its introduction in 2004, the third largest in the Citation line (weight-wise).

A unique feature of the Sovereign is its ability to take off and land in short distances which is unusual in a business jet.  For corporations and private companies, this becomes a valuable feature for plants and factories situated in small towns with short runways.  Not only does the Sovereign get you there fast (848 km/hour), but it also is considered a transcontinental aircraft with a range of over 3,000 nm.

#5: Falcon 2000

In our plethora of business aircraft manufacturers, we come to Falcon (birds of prey do make good names).  Dassault Aviation is a French aircraft manufacturer that can be seen as a fairly healthy competitor to Textron’s companies as well as Gulfstream.  Probably the most notable of the Falcon line are the aircraft that have three engines, however, the 2000 is the one of the older models in the line with just two engines.

Like other aircraft in its class, the 2000 has comparable speed as well as range which is 3,000 nm.  The impressive thing about the 2000 is its ability to climb to 37,000 feet in just nineteen minutes – that’s just over 1,900 feet/minute!

#4: Challenger 605

We’ve finally come to our last brand name in jets (although not our last pick) which is that of Challenger.  It’s one of the few non-American manufactures and actually is produced by Canadair which you might recognize as the manufacturer of the Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ).  Coincidentally, Canadair is an independent company that is also a division of Bombardier Aerospace – famous for its Bombardier Business Jets, or BBJs, among others.

The Challenger 605 is the fourth aircraft in the 600 series which dates back to the late 1970s.  The 605 was introduced in 2006 as an upgrade to the 604.  Some new features included larger cabin windows, updated Rockwell Collins instrumentation and the capability of holding an “electronic flight bag”.   The most distinct visual feature is the rounded tailcone.

The 605 is comparable in size to the previously discussed aircraft, but is one of the fastest at 870 km/hour and a range close to 4,000 nm.

#3: Challenger 300

The Challenger 300, at first glance, can easily be confused with the Challenger 600 series which is not the case.  Unlike the 600 series, the 300 is recognized as a Bombardier (parent company of Canadair). 

It entered commercial service in early 2004 and is considered a super-mid-size jet.  This basically means it’s very comparable to all the other aircraft discussed, but has greater range capability.   The 300 has a range of approximately 5,700 km and caps out at 45,000 feet.  

#2: Gulfstream IV-SP (GIV-SP)

We’re back in the Gulfstream family (popular for a very good reason)! The GIV-SP is very comparable to other Gulfstream products, but represents the fine-tuning that the Savannah-based company did to improve their product line.

For instance, Honeywell advanced flight deck displays, electrical power generation, cabin temperature control and pressurization were added to this particular model.  Additionally, improved Automatic Power Unit (APU), flap system, redesigned landing gears, and other systems were improved in this particular model.

#1: Gulfstream 650 (G650)

Quite possibly my favorite Gulfstream is that of the G650.  Sleek, shiny, and the largest of the Gulfstream family, this aircraft has the ability to take you just about anywhere.  True to the company’s tagline for this aircraft, “Farther faster, first of its kind,” the G650 more than lives up to its standard.

It has done just that with a maximum range of 7,000 miles (you read that right), and an operating speed of 0.925 Mach.  It also has the heaviest takeoff weight at almost 100,000 pounds (that’s a lot of golf clubs, or fuel).

Besides the G650 being visually stunning, the wingspan is the most noticeable at approximately 100 feet which is nearly as long as the aircraft itself.  It also features the most advanced avionics developed by Gulfstream – the PlaneView™ II flight deck.  Like the G550, it has four displays with the EVS, HUD, Synthetic Vision as well as fly-by-wire technology which is computer-controlled and highly redundant – this is advanced as the technology gets.

A Clear Winner?

While Globair.com has their favorite picks which have proven to be popular among used aircraft owners, be sure to do your research when it comes picking the business jet that works for your company.  Remember to read our tips about purchasing an aircraft – while focused on single-engine aircraft, there are some excellent tips to consider.  However, you might want to consider going to a jet broker when it comes to your business needs.

Hopefully you now have a better idea of the common business aircraft on the market – just remember to save your pennies as these sleek, used aircraft run anywhere from $6.4 to $52.9 million!

 

Searching for your next private jet? Click here to visit Globalair.com’s listings. 

 

 

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Aircraft Sales | Aviation Technology | Flying | GlobalAir.com | Aircraft For Sale | Lydia Wiff | NBAA

2017 Thoughts - No Recovery Quite Yet?

by David Wyndham 8. December 2016 14:51
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I recently returned from the excellent Corporate Jet Investor CJI-Miami conference. The two-day conference was attend by over 200 financiers, brokers, lawyers, manufacturers, appraisers, consultants and others involved in the transactions of buying and selling corporate aircraft. This includes helicopters, too (see footnote) . There were individual speakers and panel discussions. And way too much good food. Congrats to the CJI team for putting on a great event. Much of the discussion centered around the state of aircraft sales, residual values, and when the "recovery" is coming and where. Here are some things that stood out for me.

Flying is still down. There were three sets of data points supporting this. Jet Support Services (JSSI) has their Business Aviation Index built from the utilization of about 2,000 aircraft flown by their program customers. For third quarter 2016 (2016Q3) flight activity was up 1.4% versus 2015Q3. Sounds good until you see the number, about 29 hours per month, is only 84% of the overall peak utilization. Separating out Part 91 operations showed utilization of 22.5 hours per month - only 270 hours per year. That is not high utilization for the business jet fleet. 

Wingx, using FAA data, was not promising either. They show an average of 101 hours per year for all light jets and 159 annual hours for heavy jets. Not sure how accurate the FAA data is, but trends are trends and they are well off peak levels. Promising is that turboprop and light jet activity is on the rise. 

JetNet's JetNetIQ report also showed increasing aircraft fleet cycles. But total fleet cycles flown this year are only at about 2003 levels even though we have 50% more aircraft in 2016 versus 2003. So we have more business aircraft flying fewer hours and cycles versus peak periods. But flying is slowly increasing. The utilization trend is positive.

Aircraft sales, new or pre-owned, are still flat and pre-owned values overall show no signs of recovering. Several commentators blamed an over supply of business aircraft and buyers in general just not being all that interested in acquiring aircraft.  A couple brokers did note increasing sales activity in turboprops and light jets here in the US. 

Here is a tidbit I got from looking at AMSTAT's data. For business jets globally, about 25% of the fleet, 4,140 jets, is aged over 25 years. Heavy jets are the youngest fleet with only 17% of their number aged over 25. For midsize jets, 24% and for light jets, 33% of the fleet are aged 25 years or older. On the surface, I'd say the time is ripe for those older jet owners to upgrade. Why aren't they doing so in big numbers? 

Data that we see at Conklin & de Decker suggest that as aircraft age, they require increased maintenance to maintain their reliability. This increased maintenance is in dollars and downtime.  As aircraft age, the increase in unscheduled maintenance associated with scheduled inspections also requires a great deal more maintenance down time. Similarly it will take more and more maintenance to achieve any kind of acceptable dispatch reliability. Both detract from the availability of the aircraft for flight operations. Data shows that availability drops from the 95% range for aircraft up to 15 to 20 years of age to an average of 70% at age 25 and 55% at age 30. 

    Aircraft Age        Availability

      0 – 20 years up to 95%

      25 years up to 70%

      30 years up to 55%

By age 30, many aircraft are spending as much time in the shop as being available to fly. Normally this is a big problem and justification enough to acquire younger, more productive, aircraft. But if utilization is low, then maybe this is not such a big deal. The JSSI data are for aircraft under their guaranteed hourly engine maintenance plans. This aircraft are likely to be newer models. Even so, 270 annual hours for a Part 91 business aircraft is not a lot of flying. The Wingsx analysis of the FAA data showing 100-160 annual hours also shows there is plenty of downtime left in the year for scheduled maintenance while meeting g the required flight schedule. 

If operators with these older aircraft are able to meet the flying schedule and they realize the residual value of their aircraft is likely close to spare parts' values, maybe they see little need right now to upgrade. What about FAA NextGen? ADS-B is due by 2020, but for many of these older aircraft with analog equipment, the upgrade may only require a new transponder. If they cannot upgrade, then they might as well fly them until December 31, 2019 and park them. If this is the case for these operators, they may see little benefit to upgrading for another year or two.  

Overall, the general mood at CJI was that things are very slowly improving. But pay close attention to the US. Europe is moribund for business aircraft. As long as oil prices stay low, along with political instability in the Middle East, sales activity there will be slow. Same for Africa.  China and India, although they have the highest rates of GDP growth globally, are growing more slowly than in the past and account for a very small percentage of business aircraft sales. Mexico? Trump, NAFTA, and other trade worries impact there. Brazil's economy isn't promising right now, but Argentina, small a market as they are, is promising. Oceana, another small market for aircraft, is stable. The US has the globe's largest business aircraft fleet. The US, with a pro-business president and Congress combined with the current economic growth that's already underway offers the best hope for the next few years' aircraft sales. 

Personally, I think as 2020 approaches, we will see an uptick in aircraft sales for those aircraft with the ADS-B mods already installed. As supply of these aircraft may be limited, that may help with new aircraft sales.  But given the supply of pre-owned aircraft, that uptick might not be noticeable for another year, or 2018. Food for thought (as if after both Thanksgiving and the CJI buffets I have any room left). 

 

Footnote 1. Most of the helicopter manufacturers are highly dependent on large multi-turbine helicopter sales. Most of those are in oil & gas.  The CJI panel offered little hope for sales unless the price of oil goes up further. However, a recent energy find in West Texas combined the shale oil recovery and fracking technologies getting cheaper point to more land-based oil exploration. Stay tuned.

 

 

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Aircraft Sales | Aviation Technology | David Wyndham | Flying | NBAA | News

Trade Show? I Think You Mean Fun Show!

by Lydia Wiff 1. November 2016 10:00
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Growing up, I always remember my dad attending trade shows for the different companies he worked for.  Now, he was an engineer, so I always assumed they were pretty boring (sorry, Dad!).  It didn’t matter if he came home with all the trade show cool swag like pens, pencils, reusable bags, hats, or stress balls (to a kid, those things are like gold).  Several years later, I have learned that trade shows, aviation ones of course, are tons of fun and the opportunities to network and learn are endless!  This post will cover a few that I have had the chance to personally attend as well.

Air Venture

What summer would be complete without a trip to Oshkosh, WI for the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) Air Venture?  I know, people don’t really think of it as a trade show, but have you really looked around when you’ve been there?

Icon is giving demos of their recreational aircraft (you can fish from it!), Cirrus is writing up orders for their new jet, and general aviation is absolutely thriving during this aviation extravaganza.  Hundreds of companies tote their wares all week in the hope they will meet new customers, see their current customers, and really just get their name out there.  9am-5pm are the show hours, but networking goes on for hours after the show is closed.

Companies like Cirrus, Piper, Pilatus, Kodiak, and many other woo their customers and new clients with cookouts, dinners, and more.  New products get shown over dinner and deals get sealed by the time the dessert menu gets passed around.  Additionally, this “trade show” features class acts from aerobatics pilots, showcases military aircraft from every era of aviation, in addition to the biggest pyrotechnic show you’ll ever see at an airport (actually, it’s probably the only one at an airport). 

I love going to Oshkosh when I have the chance and even if you aren’t working with a company, it’s a great place to network.  Just sitting at lunch one day this summer, I met a pilot who flies for SkyWest – now, tell me that Air Venture isn’t the most fun you’ll ever have at a “trade show”. 

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)

The second trade show I’ve had the opportunity to attend is that of the NBAA Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (BACE) in Las Vegas in November 2015.  This particular trade show caters to any type of business with a corporate flight department in the United Sates and all over the world. 

I had the opportunity to attend last fall with a group from the University of North Dakota (UND).  Since we were students attending, we got a huge break in the conference fee and by that I mean it was so affordable even for a poor, college student!  All we had to do was take care of meals, flights, and lodging.  I found some fellow students from Purdue University who were members of Women in Corporate Aviation which proved to be a great networking opportunity in and of itself. 

Additionally, there were many universities that had their own booths at BACE including any company you could possibly think of.  I actually sat on one of the shuttle buses with a gentleman from Italy who worked for Pilatus – I told you it was a worldwide affair!  I also had the chance to meet those from other companies at the different booths in addition to after-hours functions.  A fun memory was going to the Las Vegas Executive Airport and looking at all of the static aircraft displays.  Gulfstream had many different aircraft on display, which is one of my favorite business jet manufacturers.

Lastly, NBAA BACE was a great way to faces to names.  I actually got to meet the owners of Globalair.com and those that had given me the blogging scholarship that year.  If I wasn’t so busy with classes, I’d be back this year promoting the scholarship!

Why Trade Shows?

You’re probably sitting there wondering why you should go to trade shows in general.  Besides the FUN aspect of trade shows, it’s important to continue to network even though you might currently be a student, or even if you are well into your career.

Last year, I had a professor that really pushed students to attend NBAA and to network in general.  In fact, many of my professors, including my adviser, always push students to get their names out there.  It doesn’t matter if it’s introducing yourself to a guest lecturer, meeting alumni, or attending trade shows.  I guess what I’m getting at here is that you never know what’s around the corner and growing your professional network only builds your contact list in addition to the possible jobs that could arise from it. 

Plus, going to these events is a great way to catch up with alumi!  I love running into people I know at these events – it makes the event that much more memorable and we get to talk about aviation (I mean, who doesn’t?).


Remember, NBAA BACE is just around the corner!

November 1-3, 2016 – Orlando, FL

Visit the Globalair.com booth – Booth 4936!

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