But the FJ44, which has been continuously upgraded since its introduction in the early 1990s, is a newer and better engine. It is, in fact, a remarkable 32 percent more efficient, based on specific fuel consumption figures, than the Pratt it replaces, and it gives the 400XT more power, more range, better hot and high performance and much better operating economies. The inspection interval on the FJ44-3AP is 4,000 hours, 400 hours longer than the JT15D-5’s. Moreover, the greatly reduced residual thrust of the Williams engines eliminates the need for thrust reversers, which lowers weight, cuts maintenance costs and makes landings that much less complicated.
Great Range and More
Range is a big part of the value equation. With a no-wind National Business Aviation Association range of 2,005 nm, compared with 1,333 nm for the Beechjet, Nextant’s new jet can make nonstop flights that owners of a 400A could only dream about. From Chicago, for example, owners can fly anywhere in the United States nonstop and to much of the rest of North America, whereas in the original 400A, they’d have to refuel in Denver for a trip to Los Angeles. The improved range opens up any number of desirable city pairs, including Los Angeles to Miami and New York to Dallas.
The engines also confer to the 400XT the ease of operation, safety and economy of full-authority digital engine control, or fadec. With dual-channel electronic control, the pilots can set power for takeoff, max continuous power or cruise simply by moving the power levers to the detents. The computers take care of the fine-tuning.
While the engines by themselves are a great improvement over the originals, the installation on the 400XT goes way beyond the remove-and-replace paradigm. To maximize the impact of the engines, Nextant engineers completely redesigned the engine pylon and cowling. The redesign makes the pylon much stronger, reduces aerodynamic drag and eases access for pilots checking fluids and for mechanics too.
As you might expect, another area of emphasis for the transformation is the panel, and here Nextant is able to completely transform the panel of the 400, which was state of the art once upon a time, to a thoroughly modern package. The 400XT boasts flat-panel displays with moving maps, satellite weather, color weather radar, charts, graphical planning and more. The avionics include four displays: solid-state AHRS (attitude and heading reference system); GPS with WAAS/LPV; dual Rockwell Collins 6100 flight management systems; and TAWS, TCAS II Collins autopilot and navcoms. It’s the same kind of avionics suite you’ll find in the 400XT’s new competitors, allowing pilots all the safety enhancements of late-model avionics in an airplane introduced before many of the features were invented.