Another approach to the future HBC will pursue as a new, stand-alone company involves turbodiesel models, similar in broad concept to the one we featured in our cover story on the Cessna 182 JT-A in October. While HBC didn’t share many details of programs, it did say it would transform the Bonanza and Baron into jet-A burners, stressing that the market internationally is already begging for alternate fuel options, with 100LL being increasingly difficult to find or afford in foreign markets.
Additionally, diesels have the added advantage of lower fuel burn. All things being equal (weight, speed, climb performance and fuel capacity), turbodiesels bestow upon an airplane a great deal of additional range, a characteristic GA pilots love, for obvious reasons, but that also makes airplanes desirable for special missions purposes, such as surveillance or maritime patrol.
While it emphasizes its commitment to the piston market, the company has not, however, indicated any desire to re-enter that segment at a point lower than $800,000, which is the approximate price of its Bonanza piston single. So don’t expect to see the company relaunch the Sierra or -Musketeer any time soon.