Time Of Composites

Composite glider possesses a number of undeniable advantages such as lower frontal resistance, durability, ease of construction. All these advantages allow to reduce the cost of operation and maintenance of an aircraft, cut down the number of technical inspections, save on engines power and the cost of consumed kerosene.

For The First Time In History

Hawker 4000 — the first and the only one for the time being middle class business jet with a fully composite fuselage. Composite materials are used in the aerospace industry since the Cold War. And if 30 years ago they were used for making simple cylindrical compartments of ballistic missiles or nose cones, then in recent years, increasingly for making blades or ailerons. For decades, none of the aircraft manufacturers dared to approach the complex shape bodies. After all, it would require the development of fundamentally new mathematical tool for resistance calculations and a different ideology of design. In addition, companies would have doomed themselves to serious investments for improvement of production basis and test facilities. Alas, most top managers, suggesting to focus efforts on the development of composite materials, simply gave up under the pressure of inexorable accountants, who continued to consider composites an expensive undertaking and at times even unprofitable.

Not To Rest On One’s Laurels

For the first time a creation of a new business jet was announced in 1996. Hawker Beechcraft designers have not dared to set goals beyond the clouds (developing a fully composite aircraft could be unreasonably delayed), and therefore limited themselves to only a composite fuselage. However, it couldn’t do without a revolution in design. Instead of ten thousand pieces of a traditional construction, the case of “four thousandth” consists of only three parts. It is by 20% lighter, by three times stronger and by 70% stiffer than the fuselages of business jets made of classic aluminum alloys.

The service requirements are very high. Before starting a flight a personal manager takes into account all the client’s wishes. Let’s start with catering. We cooperate with all the major restaurants in Moscow, starting with “Novikov catering”, “Pushkin” and ending with the world-famous restaurant brands. For you an individual menu can also be developed. Are you a fan of organic products? Ok, the menu will consist solely of eco-ingredients. The selection of alcoholic beverages is limited only by your own taste. Are you experiencing acts of God and going to be late? Ok, it’s not a cause for panic. We are waiting for you — not vice versa (of course, there are limits). You won’t be concerned with docking of flights, a delay for unknown reasons, and queues in customs areas. For business aviation flights there are special terminals at airports.

Perfecting of the aircraft has taken a lot of time. A certification was postponed several times, because modern materials were something of a novelty for supervisors as well. Unfortunately, the change of owner aircraft manufacturer postponed the obtaining of approvals in the U.S. to June, and the first delivery — to August 2008. A certification of “four hundredth” in Europe was officially made public only at the exhibition EBACE in 2010 in Geneva.

In Step With The Times

The popularity of the “four thousandth” is quite explicable. Hawker 4000 is the first of the middle class planes, equipped with autothrottle, electro remote control system of the rudder and brakes. Complex of onboard avionics Honeywell Primus Epic meets the requirements of time. It includes a flight control systems, a self-diagnostic, an indicator of efficiency of engines and preventing crew of a failure, coupled with the redundant inertial navigation system and weather radar.

Hawker Beechcraft salon with a flat floor is designed for 8-14 people. Meanwhile, it is suggested not to overpopulate the salon. Eight seats in the configuration of double club is the best set for the most comfortable accommodation, which can be transformed during the long-haul flights into four full beds. Although, if the customer is not satisfied with the standard layout, company designers with great pleasure will pick up a personal interior. For example, they will replace a pair of chairs with an elegant sofa, consider any options for decorating, offer the widest palette of finishing materials: precious woods, the best varieties of skin and tissues.

The bathroom is quite spacious, so it is enough space to move freely. Fully functional hedonistic kitchen with hot and cold water supply is equipped with a coffee maker, microwave and many other small things.

If you need to look into the luggage, the entrance is open during almost the whole flight. However, the developers advise not to visit the luggage compartment when flying at altitudes exceeding 10,670 m. After landing it is not necessary to carry the suitcases out through the lounge, injuring others and scratching furniture, as an external unloading is provided. The trunk is designed for 449 kg.

Comparing The Choice

The closest competitors of “four-thousandth” are Cessna Citation X and Bombardier Challenger 300. Planes are characterized by similar flight technical data, capacity, dimensions and cost. Salons of Hawker 4000 and Challenger 300 are the most similar. Both of them have a flat floor, the ceiling height and the lengths of the passenger compartment are quite comparable. Salon of “ten” by one and a half meters shorter, height is by 10 cm less. A hollow on the entire length of the floor a bit spoils the impression. However, this groove is rather wide (33 cm) and not complicates too much movement onboard. “Three hundredth” leaves behind the classmates by width and volume.

Producers declare different maximum capacity, but for all the three machines eight seats is optimal, maximum — nine seats. Passengers may feel uncomfortable in too crowded salon.

The volumes of baggage compartments are comparable. All the three aircraft possess closets, located at the entrance; and sealed and heated luggage compartments in the rear fuselage. In the “ten” there is a place for a small but extended (length 2.11 m) outside trunk, which fit perfectly for skis, as they are not needed during the flight. If the eight of you travel together, the cargo space may still not be enough. Each passenger will have to take only one huge suitcase. Hawker 4000 possesses the most modern avionics and the best system of ventilation and air conditioning among comparable aircraft. Up to 7693 m in the cabin of “Hawker” the normal atmospheric pressure is maintained. Upon further ascent, it will not fall below the pressure of a similar 1829 m above the sea level. In the Challenger 300 the usual pressure keeps up to 7010 m, and at higher levels — the pressure is like at the level of 2438 m. The similar feelings can be expected from staying in the cabin of Citation X. Although we should not forget that, unlike its competitors, “Cessna” could rise by nearly 2 km higher.

“Ten” loses on the size of the salon, but enraptures the largest cruising speed among mass-produced passenger aircraft (although in a recent test flight Gulfstream G650 was able to overtake the famous sprinter). Hawker 4000 has also set a row of records, For example, in April it flew 5285 km from Bedford, Massachusetts to London with an average speed of 873.4 km / h. By speed characteristics “Challenger” is a little bit behind.

If we compare the range of the described machines on the example of flight from Moscow to Beijing, the Challenger 300 will be able to make this flight with eight passengers, and the Hawker 4000 — with only six. Citation X will not hold out just a couple of hundred miles to the capital of China, and therefore it will need to land at Taiyuan.

The lengths of required runways for classmates comparable. Challenger 300 is the least sensitive to the length of the runway. But the “four thousandth” shows a good results, especially taking into account the lack of mechanization of the wing leading edge.

In comparison with its classmates the Hawker 4000 looks a little more convincing. The “ten” rewards owners with champion speed, and the “three hundredth” with the most spacious interior. But “four thousandth” can please with the greatest lift capacity with full tanks and virtually no lags in flight range. This machine has the most modern electronics, and due to the use of composites a longer life is guaranteed. However, with the introduction into service in 2012 business jets Gulfstream G250 and the Embraer Legacy 500, which are direct competitors to the discussed models, competition on the market of business aviation in the segment of super mid-size aircraft is going to be much tougher.

Dmitry Fedotov
The article is published abridged. The full version you can find in Top Flight N1 (23), 2011

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