It’s more than that too, and it gets back to Nextant’s idea that the 400XT be a coherent product, like one produced in a factory. So while avionics and interior options are available, as they are on new airplanes, buyers don’t get to pick and choose which mods to add to their package. The offering is an entire airplane, the 400XT. This is inherently different from the way that every other mod house we know of works, and the advantages to owners are significant. They get an airplane that is a known quantity. Instead of the “400XT” being a marketing name for a range of mod options, it becomes a clear descriptor of what the jet is. That should help maintain the value of the 400XT. Nextant believes, in fact, that the airplane will hold its value better than new airplanes will. The company also claims that buyers will have a much easier time getting financing for their airplanes than for getting mod work done on existing airplanes.
How new does an airplane have to be to be considered “new?” In the case of the Nextant 400XT, while I’d be hard-pressed to call it “new,” it certainly pushes the envelope. The airplane doesn’t seem at all like an existing model that has had engines and avionics added. Instead it feels much like an airplane that emerged as is from its original design. That is not to say that it is a new airplane through and through. It’s not, and a discerning eye can tell. But for most practical purposes, it might as well be. You get new engines, new avionics, a new wiring harness (a huge job), a completely refurbished interior, aerodynamic and structural mods that make the 400XT stronger than when it was a new Beechjet, and more.
Let’s start with the engines, the Williams FJ44-3AP turbofan, a power plant that was derived from the engine that powers the impressive Cessna Citation CJ4. It’s safe to say that without the Williams engines, there would be no Nextant 400XT or possibly no Nextant. The engines are revolutionary enhancements over the state of the art of even 10 years ago. They are quieter, more fuel-efficient and more reliable. If that sounds as though they’re better in every way than the last-gen engines that powered light bizjets in the ’80s and ’90s, you’re right.
The 3,050-pound-thrust FJ44-3APs on the 400XT replace the Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5 engines of 2,965 pounds of thrust on the Beechjet 400A. That engine, which entered service in 1983, is closely based on the JT15 engines introduced in 1971 for the original Citation. With more than 7,000 produced for a number of different airplanes, the JT15D is a legend.